LITTLE ROCK — The Bryant 12-year-old (50/70) Cal Ripken League All-Stars battled all the way back to force a winner-take-all final against the host Little Rock Junior Deputy All-Stars on Wednesday, July 15, only to suffer a 2-1 heartbreaker in the State championship game.
Bryant, which was knocked into the losers bracket by Junior Deputy in the winners bracket final, ousted Lakewood 12-4 on Monday, July 13, to get another shot at them. A 5-1 Bryant win over Junior Deputy on Monday, forced the finale which was postponed by rain on Tuesday.
Bryant’s 12-year-old All-Stars who play on the diamond with 50-foot pitching distance and 70-foot basepaths, coached by Danny Jackson, include Ben Bruick, Britan Crouch, Devin Dupree, Hunter Fugitt, Jason Hastings, Dalton Holt, Zachary Jackson, Hunter Oglesby, Blake Patterson, Drew Tipton, Jacob Ward, Brandon Warner and John Winn.
Hastings, who belted five home runs in the tournament, was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.[more]
Junior Deputy 2, Bryant 1
With the game tied 1-1 in the bottom of the fifth, Little Rock got a runner to third on a double and a wild pitch. But an attempt to pick off the runner resulted in a wild throw that allowed him to score.
But Bryant had a chance to get a run back in the top of the seventh only to be set down in order as Junior Deputy held on for the championship and a trip to Regionals.
Bryant had taken a 1-0 lead in the opening inning when Hastings drove a two-out single up the middle and, after Winn walked, scored on a base hit by Warner. Winn raced to third on the play but was stranded.
Hastings, Bryant starting pitcher, made that stand up through three innings. He worked around a pair of walks in the first, two hit batsman and a single in the second and a single and a one-out double in the third.
Meanwhile, Bryant’s only threat came in the third when Hastings and Winn drew two-out walks.
In the bottom of the fourth, Little Rock eked out a run without a hit to tie the game on a walk, a stolen base and a pair of passed balls.
Bryant made a bid to regain the advantage in the top of the fifth. Patterson drew a lead-off walk but, an out later, was forced at second a grounder off Fugitt’s bat. Hastings doubled Fugitt to third but both were stranded when a strikeout ended the inning.
Bryant finished with only three hits in the game, Little Rock had just four.
Bryant 5, Junior Deputy 1
Hastings blasted a pair of home runs to drive in all five for Bryant. He smashed a three-run shot in the third and a two-run blast in the fifth.
Warner went the distance on the mound for Bryant, scattering seven hits and allowing only one run on a solo homer in the third. He worked out of a bases-loaded one-out jam in the first, forced Junior Deputy to strand two runners in the third, two more in the fourth and another in the sixth, finishing with a flurry by striking out the last two batters. His teammates helped out with errorless defense and a doubleplay in the fifth.
After the home run snapped a scoreless deadlock in the top of the third, Tipton and Fugitt each singled to set the table for Hastings, who blasted his three-run homer to center.
Oglesby singled to lead off the fourth and was sacrificed to second by Holt but was stranded there.
In the fifth, however, Fugitt singled and Hastings unloaded again.
Bryant 12, Lakewood 4
Sparked by a game-opening solo homer by Tipton, Bryant built a 6-0 lead in the first inning and never looked back. Hastings and Ward shared the pitching duties, scattering six hits between them.
Bryant’s first continued with singles by Fugitt and Hastings. Winn grounded into a force at second as Fugitt went to third. A passed ball allowed him to score and, after Winn stole third, Warner cracked a two-run blast to left to make it 4-0.
Singles by Jackson and Holt and an error that allowed Ward to reach loaded the bases for Patterson who drove in two with a double.
After Hastings worked a 1-2-3 home first, Bryant added another run in the second. Hastings and Winn singled and, after Warner bounced into a doubleplay, Winn stole third and scored on a passed ball ahead of a double by Jackson.
A two-run homer got Lakewood on the board in the bottom of the second and it stayed 7-2 until the fourth when Hastings reached on an error, swiped second, took third on a passed ball and scored on a single by Winn.
Lakewood managed to get that run back in the bottom of the inning but couldn’t answer the two Bryant tacked on in the fifth. Holt doubled, took third on a sacrifice bunt by Holt and scored on a passed ball. Patterson then smacked a home run and it was 10-3.
Bryant turned a doubleplay in the bottom of the inning behind Ward and the sixth brought two more Bryant tallies. Winn started the uprising with a single and a stolen base. Oglesby got a bunt down and Winn came all the way around from second to score.
Dupree reached on an error and Holt beat out a bunt single. Ward’s base hit loaded the bases and, after Patterson bounced into a force at home, Holt scored on a passed ball.
A double, a hit batsman and a two-out single pushed a final run across for Lakewood in the bottom of the sixth. A walk followed, loading the bases, but Warner got the last out on a pop to first.