JACKSONVILLE — The Bryant 10-year-old All-Stars are State champions and will be the top[more] seed from Arkansas at the Regional Tournament set for Pampa, Texas, staring July 19.
After falling behind 1-0 to the Brinkley All-Stars in the first inning and being denied a run through three innings despite repeated threats, Bryant rallied in the top of the sixth when Austin Schroeder cracked a two-out RBI double and starting pitcher Tyler Bates with sixth-inning help from Will Hathcote made it stand up for a 2-1 win and the State crown.
The Bryant 10-year-old team, coached by Greg Riggs, includes Aiden Adams, Kannon Allison, Bates, Clay Curtis, River Gregory, Hathcote, Cameron McDonald, Trey Miller, Justin Orender, Ryan Riggs, Schroeder, Blaine Sears, Brandon Thomisee and Josh Turner.
The game-turning fourth began with Adams’ one-out single. He advanced to second on a passed ball and reached third on a wild pitch. With two out, Bates hit one to right that was misplayed. Adams scored the tying run and Bates wound up at second. A pitch later, Schroeder blasted a drive to dead center for the double that chased home Bates with the go-ahead run.
The game was hardly over, of course. Brinkley had three more at-bats to try to draw even or regain the lead. But Bates retired the side in order in the bottom of the fourth. In the fifth, a walk was negated when the Bryant hurler got the next two batters to bounce back to the mound. Both times, Bates threw to second to get a force out. A pop to second ended the inning.
Hathcote relieved to start the sixth and issued a walk but the next batter bounced to first Orender at first. He made a nifty play to get the force on the lead runner at second. A base hit followed, however, and Brinkley had the potential tying run at second and the possible winning run at first.
But Hathcote struck out the next two batters to end the game and start the celebration.
Brinkley’s first-inning run was unearned. After two were out, a single and an error put runners at first and second. A base hit drove in the run from second but that would prove to be the last hit for Brinkley until that sixth-inning single.
Bates worked around a two-out error in the second and again in the third.
Bryant, meanwhile, was having a frustrating time at the plate. In the top of the first, Schroeder reached on an error, Orender was hit by a pitch and Turner beat out an infield hit to load the bases with one out but they were unable to dent the plate.
In the second, Curtis singled to left and Bates beat out an infield hit but both were stranded. The third saw McDonald single and take second on a passed ball as Sears drew a two-out walk. But, again, Brinkley wriggled out of the jam unscathed.
Brinkley could not duplicate that effort in the fourth, however.
The victory completed an unbeaten run through the State tournament for Bryant.