Photos by Kevin Nagle
TEXARKANA — The Bryant Blue League team of 6-year-olds rallied for three runs in the bottom of the[more] fifth inning to overcome a 15-13 deficit and win the Arklatex Classic Saturday.
Bryant swept four games in the one-day tournament. In pool play, the team started with a 19-18 win over the Vipers of Texarkana Texas then defeated Hooks, Texas, 16-6. In bracket play, Bryant dismissed Hooks 20-11 to set up a championship game against the Texarkana, Ark., Razorbacks, which, with the rally, they won 16-15.
Team members are Reid Catton, Clay Crawford, Gavin Hill, Dylan Hunt, Grant Johnson, Carson Kemp, Julius McClellan, C.J. Nagle, Aden Palmer, Andrew Schroeder, Braxton Speer and Caden Stovall. Patrick Schroeder is the head coach with assistants, Shawn Hill and Chad Kemp.
The game-winning rally in the bottom of the fifth of the final game began with hits by McClellan, Hunt and Palmer. With one out, Schroeder came through with the game-winning whack.
Texarkana scored the maximum of five runs in each of the first two innings to gain the upper hand. Bryant stayed in the game by getting three in the first and four in the second. In the first, Crawford, Johnson, Nagle and Hill had hits. In the second, there was an out when Palmer got the hitting going. Speear and Schroeder followed with hits then Crawford grounded into a force at second. Johnson and Nagle followed with hits before the final out was recorded.
The breakthrough came when Bryant limited the Razorbacks to two runs in the third and two more in the fourth.
Bryant’s five-run third tied the game. Catton started the uprising with a single then Hill slapped a base hit to right. Stovall grounded into a force at second then Hunt bounced into a fielder’s choice that retired Stovall at third.
So, with two out, Bryant’s barrage kicked in. Palmer, Speer, Schroeder, Crawford and Johnson had consecutive hits to knot it up.
In the fourth, however, Texarkana went up 14-12 and Bryant managed just one run in the bottom of the inning on hits by Kemp and Catton. So when Texarkana came to bat in the top of the fifth, there was a chance for the game to be put out of reach with a max inning. But the Razorbacks were held to just one run by Bryant, keeping the door open for the game-winning rally in the bottom of the frame.
In the semifinal game, Hooks took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first only to have Bryant score the maximum of five runs. And Bryant went on to max out in each of the four innings to put the game out of reach.
In the first inning, Crawford, Johnson and Nagle had singles to center. Kemp grounded into a force at third but hits by Catton, Hill, Stovall and McClellan made it 5-2.
Bryant kept Hooks from scoring in the second and promptly extended the lead to 10-2 in the bottom of the frame. Hunt, Palmer, Speer, Schroeder, Crawford and Johnson each had hits as Hooks was unable to record a single out in the inning.
The Texas team stayed alive with a five-run uprising in the top of the third but Bryant went back to work in the bottom of the inning with consecutive hits by Nagle, Kemp, Catton, Hill, Stovall and McClellan to make it 15-7.
Hooks pushed four runs home in the top of the fourth to get within 15-11 but Bryant continued the onslaught in the bottom of the inning on hits by Palmer, Speer, Schroeder, Crawford, Johnson and Nagle.
In the pool play win over Hooks, Bryant spotted the Texas team a 1-0 lead in the top of the first but, in its turn, took a 5-1 lead on hits by Crawford, Johnson, Nagle, Kemp and Catton.
Hooks tied it 5-5 in the top of the second but it didn’t stay that way long. In Bryant’s second, Hill singled and, though he was forced at second, Stovall reached and McClellan and Hunt followed with hits. Hunt was tagged out going to third but Palmer and Speer reached and hits by Schroeder, Crawford and Johnson made it 10-5.
And when Bryant retired Hooks in order in the top of the third, the blowout commenced with five more in the home third. Nagle, Kemp, Catton, Hill, Stovall, McClellan and Hunt each cracked hits to make it 15-5.
Hooks kept faint hopes alive with a run in the fourth but all Bryant needed to clinch the win was one of its own. That came on hits by Palmer and Speer and an RBI groundout by Schroeder.
In the first pool play game against the Texarkana, Texas Vipers, Bryant held on for the win when, leading 19-15, it only allowed three runs in the top of the fifth.
Texarkana took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first but that didn’t last long. On hits by Crawford, Johnson, Nagle, Kemp, Catton and Hill, it was 5-2 going into the second.
The Vipers reached the maximum in the top of the second to take a 7-5 lead only to have Bryant counter with four more. Stovall, McClellan, Hunt, Palmer and Speer had the hits that made it a 9-7 Bryant edge.
Texarkana’s three-run third produced a 10-9 advantage but it too was short-lived as Bryant, again, maxed out on hits by Nagle, Hill, Stovall, McClellan, Hunt and Palmer.
The Vipers stayed alive with five runs in the top of the fourth, taking a 15-14 lead.
Bryant’s fourth-inning uprising began with a one-out hit by Schroeder. Crawford, Johnson and Nagle followed with hits then Kemp grounded into a force at second that, nevertheless, produced a run. Catton and Hill capped off the outburst with hits.