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CONWAY — The Bryant 7-year-old tournament baseball team just couldn’t get past the[more] Rawlings Prospects of Conway and finished 1-2 in the May Day Home Run Showdown at City of Colleges Park last weekend.
The team, which is coached by Kevin Nagle with assistance from Jeremy Stovall and Richard Palmer, includes Brady Brower, Reid Catton, Clay Crawford, Gage Horn, Aiden Hughes, Dylan Hunt, Grant Johnson, Carson Kemp, Julius McClellan, C.J. Nagle, Aden Palmer and Caden Stovall.
The Bryant team opened the tournament with a 12-7 loss to the Prospects but bounced back to drub Easton Elite, 15-4. On Sunday, in a rematch with Rawlings, Bryant absorbed a 17-8 loss.
Rawlings Prospects 17, Bryant 7’s 8
Catton, Horn, Johnson and Brower each had two hits for Bryant but two scoreless innings to start the game put the team in a 7-0 hole it couldn’t overcome. Rawlings scored three in the first and one in the second then added three more in the top of the third.
Bryant struck for two runs in the home third. Palmer got things going with a single. He took second on Crawford’s groundout, advanced to third on Brower’s single and scored on a double by Hughes. A sacrifice fly from Catton made it 7-2 as Brower scored.
But the Conway team countered with a four-run outburst in the top of the fourth to build the lead to 11-2.
Bryant continued to battle. In the home fourth, Horn singled and took second on an errant throw. Hunt singled him home. Johnson’s base hit was followed by a grounder by McClellan that resulted in a force at second as Hunt took third then raced home. Stovall singled to put runners at first and third but they were stranded.
The Prospects kept the pressure on with three more runs in the top of the fifth but Bryant plated four the bottom of the fifth to stay alive. Crawford and Brower singled and, after Hughes grounded into a force at second, Catton singled in a run and Nagle doubled in a pair. Horn’s base hit to right plated Nagle to make it 14-8.
Rawlings, however, put the game out of reach with a three-run sixth.
Bryant 7’s 15, Easton Elite 4
Three hits each from Nagle and Hunt led a 22-hit attack for Bryant in the victory over Easton. Bryant scored five in the first and seven in the second to take control of the game right off the bat. Bryant scored five in the first and seven in the second to take control of the game right off the bat.
The five-run first started with one-out singles by Nagle and Horn. An errant throw allowed them to advance to second and third before Hunt singled to make it 2-0. And when the ball was thrown around, Hunt came all the way around to score as well. Kemp singled, Johnson doubled and McClellan drove in a run with a base hit. Stovall's single loaded the bases and when Palmer grounded into a force at second, Johnson scored the fifth run of the frame.
Kemp got the offense revved up again with a base hit. Johnson doubled and McClellan beat out a hit to load the bases for Palmer. A grounder to short resulted in a force at third but Johnson was able to score to make it 5-0.
The Elite was retired in order in the bottom of the first and Bryant went to work again. A one-out single by Hughes instigated the seven-run outburst. Catton and Nagle singled to plate a run. Horn drove in Catton and, after Johnson singled to load the bases, Hunt doubled in a pair. Kemp singled to fill the bases for McClellan who cleared the bases with a base hit to center.
Easton got on the board with two runs in the bottom of the second to make it 12-2. Bryant trumped that with three more in the top of the third. Stovall singled but was forced at second on a grounder to the pitcher by Palmer. Crawford doubled but was Palmer was ruled out for missing a base on his way to third. Brower’s base hit put runners at first and third for Hughes, who made it 14-2 with a two-run double.
After Catton singled, Nagle doubled in Hughes to cap off the inning.
The game ended when Easton was only able to manage two runs in the bottom of the fourth.
Rawlings Prospects 12, Bryant 7’s 7
Bryant built a 3-0 lead in the first three innings but Rawlings erupted for seven runs in the fourth and added five more in the fifth to extract the first-round win.
Nagle, Horn, Johnson, McClellan, Kemp and Crawford each had two hits for Bryant, which took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second. Crawford singled in McClellan and Kemp with two out in the inning. McClellan had led off with a base hit by Kemp followed with a double.
In the third, Hughes singled and, after Catton grounded into a force and Nagle flew out, Horn drove a base hit to center to set the stage for Johnson’s RBI double.
After being held scoreless over those first three frames, Rawlings erupted for seven in the fourth. In turn, Bryant trimmed a run off the lead in the bottom of the inning, making it 7-4. McClellan, who had doubled, scored on a single by Kemp.
The five-run top of the fifth for the Prospects left Bryant needing a maximum seven-run inning in the bottom of the fifth. Just three scored, however, when Catton and Nagle singled, Horn and Johnson doubled and Hunt drove in the final run with a base hit.