By Madison McEntire
JACKSONVILLE — The Bryant 11-year-old Blue All-Star team opened the 2012 Cal Ripken State tournament with[more] a 12-5 loss to Little Rock Junior Deputy at Jacksonville’s Excell Park on Friday, June 29.
Team member are Logan Catton, Cade Dupree, Coby Greiner, Will McEntire, Ryan Lessenberry, Hunter Mullings, Ty Jackson, Jacob Shepard, Jacob Coppock, Brock Bariola, Triston day, and Sawyer Webb. They are managed by Michael Catton with help from assistant coaches Phillip Dupree and Madison McEntire.
Bryant batted first and went 1-2-3 as Catton flied to right, Bariola popped to the shortstop and Coppock fanned. McEntire was the starting pitcher for Bryant. After striking out the first batter, he allowed base runners on a hit-by-pitch and a walk before getting another strikeout. LRJD took a 1-0 lead when the following batter doubled on a hard grounder that hit the third base bag. The next batter ripped a line drive to third that literally knocked the glove from Dupree’s hand. He recovered the ball and made a hurried throw to first for the out but upon appeal the home plate umpire ruled that the throw pulled Coppock from the bag as the second run scored. A line drive to short ended the inning and Bryant trailed 2-0.
In the second, McEntire led off with a single to center and was moved to second on Dupree’s sac bunt. With Greiner at the plate, McEntire tried to take third on a ball in the dirt but was thrown out for the second out. After Greiner walked, Mullings flied to center for the final out.
LRJD took control the game with six in the bottom of the second. McEntire hit the first batter but then got a grounder to short and a fly to center for two outs. Another walk and a single in the hole at short loaded the bases. LRJD’s cleanup hitter then stepped in the box and hit the first pitch over the fence in right-center for a grand slam.
After McEntire hit the next batter on a 1 -2 pitch, Webb took his place on the mound and gave up a single, a walk and a three-run home to LRJD’s eight-hole hitter. Because there was a six-run per inning limit, the blast only counted for two runs and ended the inning with Bryant trailing 8-0.
Bryant got two of the runs back in the third. Shepard reached first when a grounder went through the legs of the Little Rock second baseman and Lessenberry followed with a walk after being behind in the count 0-2. Catton lined hard to the third baseman who robbed him of a double down the line. Bariola then grounded to short with both runners moving up.
Coppock’s two-out single drove in two runs before Webb ended the inning with a foul pop to the catcher.
Coppock took over on the mound in the third. The first batter doubled to center and moved to third on a wild pitch before a hard liner to Bariola in right resulted in the first out. A walk put two on, and the runner on first moved to second on a steal before Greiner‘s error at short allowed both runners to score. Coppock got the second out himself on a pop near the third base line but not before the runner moved to third on a steal and wild pitch. The next batter walked with the runner scoring on a wild pitch before a strikeout ended the inning with LRJD up 11-2.
Bryant plated three runs in the top of the fourth to make it 11-5. Dupree reached on a throwing error by the third baseman and moved to third on wild pitches. He scored as Greiner reached on a fielding error by the third baseman. Mullings singled to left and then Jackson walked to load the bases. Lessenberry’s grounder to short plated Greiner and moved the other runners up. Catton grounded back to the mound for the second out with Mullings scoring on the play. After Bariola walked, Coppock grounded out to second to end the inning.
In their at-bat in the bottom of the fourth, LRJD ended the game with a 12-5 run-rule victory when the leadoff batter was hit by a pitch, advance to third on wild pitches and scored on a single to right field.
Bryant was scheduled to return to action in the losers bracket Saturday at 3 p.m.