Bryant 9-year-olds earn valuable experience at Wally Hall TOC

The Bryant Fitness Zone 9-and-under team coached by Chris Kinzler that played in the[more] 29th annual Wally Hall Tournament of Champions earned valuable experience against a trio of tough teams, despite losses in all three contests.

The Bryant team opened on Friday night with a tough 11-9 loss to the Benton Wildhogs. On Saturday, they ran into the Twin City Bombers who handed them a 25-0 setback. Sunday’s game against the Central Arkansas Twisters ended with a 14-7 final.

The Fitness Zone team includes Ethan Baldwin, Brooks Bishop, Vincent Caporelli, Matthew Curtis, Benjamin Devine, Cooper Kinzler, Clay McElyea, Caleb Jacobs, Hunter Stallman, Aiden Thompson and Daniel Walters.

In Friday’s opener, Bryant grabbed a 3-0 lead in the top of the first. Devine drew a lead-off walk then Walters drilled a shot to right-center. With one out, McElyea doubled and, after Kinzler walked, Jacobs came through with an infield hit with two down to get the third run home.

Benton, however, scored six in the bottom of the inning to gain the advantage. But Bishop and Thompson each drew walks and scored for Bryant in the top of the second to close the gap to 6-5.

The Wildhogs tacked on a run in the bottom of the inning then held Bryant scoreless in the third. A four-run home third had the Benton team ahead 11-5.

Bryant rallied in the top of the fourth when Caporelli, Bishop, Thompson and Devine all reached base and scored. Walters’ single capped off the uprising.

Curtis pitched a scoreless home fourth for Fitness but, in the top of the fifth, Benton retired the side in order to close out the victory.

On Saturday, the Bryant team was hit hard in the first inning when the Twin City Bombers scored 20 runs then tacked on in the next two innings.

For Fitness, Devine reached third in the bottom of the first then Stallman and Caporelli reached second and third in the second. Devine had a hit with two out in the bottom of the third but they just couldn’t dent the plate.

It was Bryant that got off to a fast start in Sunday’s game, scoring six times in the top of the first. Walks to Devine, Walters and Curtis loaded the bases for MeElyea who ripped a double to start the scoring. Jacobs and Caporelli each reached base and scored. Bishop got to third but was stranded when the inning ended.

Bryant held the Twisters to just two runs in the second then got one of those back in the top of the second on a drive by Walters who went on to score.

Central Arkansas rallied for four runs to cut the lead to 7-6 and, after Bryant was unable to score in the top of the third, an eight-run uprising by the Twisters resulted in victory.

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