Bryant last 7-year-old team ousted from 8-and-under State

 Photos courtesy of Lori Brower

SHERWOOD — The Bryant’s 7-year-old All-Stars’ impressive run through the losers bracket of the[more] 2013 8-and-under State Tournament at Sylvan Hills came to an end Monday night when, after they eliminated their sixth team, they were ousted by the Little Rock Junior Deputy 8-year-olds, 8-5. The Little Rock team needed a five-run rally in the top of the sixth to overcome Bryant’s 5-3 lead and win the game.

In the 43-team field, Bryant’s 7’s finished among the final six teams, having posted a 6-2 record and never playing another 7-year-old team. Their win on Monday, ended the tournament for the Benton 8’s, 12-2. Previously, they had eliminated Jacksonville 8-and-under, Lakewood 8’s, Marion 8-and-under, Brinkley 8-and-under, and West Helena 8-and-under.

They will get to play some other 7-year-old teams at the Southwest Regional Tournament at Long Beach, Miss., starting July 19.

The Bryant 7-year-old team, managed by Jeremy Stovall, is Garrison Blacklaw, Brady Brower, Reid Catton, Clay Crawford, Gage Horn, Dillon Hunt, Grant Johnson, Carson Kemp, Gideon Motes, Carson Nagle, Hank Penfield, and Caden Stovall.

Bryant 12, Benton 2

In the final win, Bryant built a 10-1 lead after falling behind 1-0 in the top of the first. The Stars scored three in the home first, six in the second and another in the third. Benton managed a second run in the top of the fourth but Bryant added two in the home half to make it a run-rule win.

Catton and Blacklaw each had three hits for Bryant and Hunt drove in four.

Benton’s first run came on a single, a stolen base, a groundout and another single. For Bryant, Catton singled but was forced at second on a tap back to the mound by Kemp. Blacklaw singled then Hunt belted his triple to right to put Bryant ahead for good. Nagle singled him in to make it 3-1.

The big second began when Brower hustled all the way to second on a bunt. Crawford singled him home. Though Crawford was thrown out trying to steal second, Mote revved up the offense again with a base hit to left. Catton doubled him home then Kemp socked a double to make it 6-1.

Blacklaw legged out an infield hit and Hunt picked up another RBI with a groundout to short. Nagle blasted a double to left to drive in Blacklaw then he scored as well on a double by Horn to cap off the max-inning.

In the third, Stovall singled, sprinted to third on a double by Penfield and scored on Brower’s sacrifice.

Benton got the run back but, in the home fourth, Mote singled, stole third and scored on a base hit by Catton. When Kemp’s pop to second was misplayed, Catton, who had to hold up at first, was forced at second but Blacklaw doubled and Hunt ended it with an RBI groundout to short.

Little Rock Junior Deputy 8, Bryant 5

In a seesaw battle, Junior Deputy led 3-0 going into the bottom of the third. Bryant cut two runs off the margin then took the lead with a three-run fourth. Neither team scored in the fifth but, in the sixth, the Little Rock team scored five, taking the lead on a two-out bases-loaded triple. Bryant was retired in order in the bottom of the sixth as Junior Deputy survived.

Blacklaw, Kemp, Nagle, Horn, Penfield and Crawford had two hits each.

JD scored two runs in the first and added another run in the top of the third. Bryant’s initial comeback in the bottom of the third was ignited by Penfield’s infield hit. With one out, Crawford singled him to third. Mote’s base hit broke the goose egg and, moments later after a hit by Kemp loaded the bases, Crawford stole home to make it 3-2.

Junior Deputy put the first two runners on base in the fourth but Bryant picked the lead runner off third to put a damper on the threat.

Bryant then took the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Nagle lit the fire with a single. Horn followed with a hit then Johnson smacked a double to chase in Nagle with the tying run. Horn scored on Stovall’s groundout and, after base hits from Penfield and Brower, Crawford beat out an infield hit to get Johnson home, making it 5-3.

After holding JD in the top of the fifth, Bryant made a bid to add to the advantage in the home half when Kemp singled. He was forced at second on Blacklaw’s grounder then Hunt bounced into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.

Bryant retired the first batter of the sixth but consecutive singles produced a run and loaded the bases. A pop to second was caught so Bryant was within an out of winning before the game-breaking triple.

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