MAGNOLIA — Outscoring their competition by a whopping 64-12, the Bryant 9-year-old Cal Ripken All-Stars waded through the five games in a clean sweep to capture the State championship, earning a spot in the Regional tournament in Gulfport, Miss., beginning July 30.
In their closest game of the tournament, Bryant’s Stars out-slugged Little Rock Junior Deputy, 10-7, in the championship round. That came after Bryant opened the tournament with an 18-0 romp over El Dorado on Friday, July 10, a 12-2 victory over Marion on Saturday, a 10-0 whitewash of Sylvan Hills on Sunday, and a 14-3 win over Benton in the winners bracket final on Monday.
Bryant’s 9-year-olds, coached by Bill Kyzer, include Myers Buck, Luke Curtis, Caleb Dorsey, Brooks Ellis, Hunter Hilson, Dylan Johnson, Preston Kyzer, Hayden Mills, Blake Pennington, Matthew Sandidge, Scott Schmidt, Larry Thompson and Cooper Wright.[more]
Bryant 10, Junior Deputy 7
Hoping to force a winner-take-all final, Junior Deputy trumped Bryant’s one-run first with five in the bottom of the inning then led 6-3 after two innings. But Bryant rallied for six in the top of the fourth to take the lead on the way to the title.
The game-turning uprising began with walks to Sandidge, Schmidt and Wright. Johnson was hit by a pitch to force in a run then Thompson’s sacrifice fly made it 6-5. After Wright and pinch-runner Mills moved up on a passed ball, Kyzer cracked a double down the left-field line to chase them both home and putting Bryant ahead to stay. Singles by Pennington and Hilson loaded the bases again and when Buck drew a walk, it forced in the sixth run of the frame.
Junior Deputy used a single, a wild pitch and an error to get a run back in the bottom of the inning but Bryant got that run back in the top of the fifth. Wright singled, Mills walked and, after Thompson grounded into a force at third, walks to Kyzer and Dorsey forced in the final run.
Schmidt, on in relief of Johnson the starter, worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the inning and closed it out with a pair of strikeouts.
Bryant had taken a 1-0 lead in the first on a triple by Schmidt and a groundout by Wright. Johnson was hit by a pitch and Thompson and Kyzer singled to load the bases but Johnson was thrown out trying to score on a passed ball to end the inning.
After Little Rock scored its five in the bottom of the inning, Bryant got two back in the second. Pennington walked and Hilson reached on an interference call. Both scored when Buck got a bunt single down.
After Little Rock scored another run in the second on a trio of singles, Johnson settled in and worked a scoreless third before Schmidt took over and finished.
Bryant 14, Benton 3
A six-run first put Bryant on the road to victory over its rival on Monday.
A trio of walks loaded the bases to start the inning. Sandidge was caught trying to score on a passed ball but Johnson singled in Schmidt and, after Thompson walked, Kyzer doubled in Wright and Johnson to make it 3-0. Walks to Pennington and Hilson set up Buck’s double that gave Bryant the maximum six runs in the inning.
After Benton trimmed two runs off the lead in the top of the second, Bryant added three. Sandidge walked, Schmidt beat out a bunt hit and drew a wild throw to first, putting runners at second and third for Wright who picked up an RBI with a groundout. Johnson doubled in a run and scored on a two-bagger by Thompson who was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a triple.
In the third, Sandidge opened with a triple, scoring on Schmidt’s tap back to the mound. Walks to Wright and Johnson set up Thompson’s RBI double and another by Kyzer before Pennington tripled in a pair to make it 14-2.
Benton rallied for a run in the top of the fourth but when Sandidge caught a fly to center and threw to second to double up the baserunner from first, it ended the game.
Bryant 10, Sylvan Hills 0
Schmidt and Kyzer combined on a four-inning no-hitter, allowing just two baserunners in the game. Schmidt issued a two-out walk in the second and Kyzer walked a batter with two down in the third. Bryant was errorless on defense.
And the Bryant Stars got all the runs they’d need in the first when Sandidge walked, Schmidt was hit by a pitch and Wright chased them both home with a drive to right-center for a triple. Johnson’s groundout brought Wright home to make it 3-0.
Three more scored in the third when Hilson belted a home run to right.
In the fourth, Curtis and Sandidge drew one-out walks, Schmidt singled in a run, Wright smacked his second triple and Johnson singled him in to make it a run-rule finish.
Bryant 12, Marion 2
Johnson, Schmidt combined to limit Marion to two runs on four hits in four innings and Bryant scored in every innings in a run-rule victory.
A six-run first after Johnson had struck out the side in the top of the inning, gave Bryant the upper hand right away.
Sandidge walked to open the inning but was forced at second on a grounder to third by Schmidt. But a passed ball and a stolen base had Schmidt at third and, after Ellis was hit by a pitch, Johnson grounded into a force as Schmidt held at third.
Wright singled him in moments later, however, and, after a passed ball, Thompson doubled in two. Kyzer singled and scored behind Thompson on a triple by Hilson. Buck’s double made it 6-0.
Marion managed a run in the top of the second but Bryant got four more. Johnson and Thompson each belted two-run doubles.
In the third, Pennington doubled, took second on a walk pitch after Sandidge walked and tagged and scored on Schmidt’s pop to short.
To make it a run-rule win, Mills walked, took second on a passed ball, stole third and scored on a single by Hilson.
Bryant 18, El Dorado 0
In a three-inning game, Johnson and Schmidt pitched the one-hit shutout.
El Dorado loaded the bases with one out in the first but Johnson struck out two to end the threat. After that the only baserunner reached on an error in the top of the third only to be picked off after taking a turn toward second on the play. Schmidt fanned the next two and Bryant proceeded to close out the win with its third six-run inning of the game.
In the first of those six-run outbursts, Kyzer doubled in a run, Johnson tripled to knock one in then Wright and Hilson had RBI singles and Sandidge knocked in a pair with a base hit.
In the second, Schmidt doubled and Mills walked to get things going. Wright and Thompson walked to force in a run then a passed ball allowed Mills to score. Hilson beat out an infield hit then Ellis cleared the bases with a triple before scoring on a base hit by Buck.
A couple of errors contributed to the third-inning outburst. The first cost two runs as Sandidge and Schmidt scored and Mills reached second. Dorsey singled and, after he swiped second, scored behind Mills on a double by Wright.
Though Wright was thrown out trying to score on a passed ball, Thompson doubled, Hilson singled and Curtis picked up an RBI with a groundout. Pennington walked and Sandidge ended it with an RBI single.