LONOKE — Their game in the championship round of the 14-year-old South Arkansas Babe Ruth State Tournament on Sunday was suspended, so the Bryant All-Stars had to go back to Lonoke on Monday to resume the game, but it was the Lonoke All-Stars that came back to win, 4-2, forcing a winner-take-all final. Again, Bryant took a lead only to have Lonoke rally for an 8-6 win and the championship.
Both teams will advance to the Babe Ruth Regional tournament in Arkadelphia, which starts, July 19.
The Bryant team, managed by Jason Greiner with assistance from Jeremy Morrow and Jon Parker, includes Gavin Burton, Tucker Dunn, Caleb Greiner, Drew Hatman, Hunter Holt, Connor Martin, Colby Morrow, Calvin Myles, Kyler Pabon, J.T. Parker and Cade Parker.
Lonoke 8, Bryant 6
Bryant held a 6-1 lead after three innings, but Lonoke rallied to cut the margin to 6-5 in the fourth then added three in the top of the fifth for the 8-6 victory.
Bryant took advantage of four errors, three hit basemen and three walks with five hits. But, over the last two innings got shut out.
A run in the bottom of the first gave Bryant the early lead. Burton was hit by a pitch and took second on a passed ball. Holt singled to left as Burton took third. Holt moved up but Burton held as J.T. Parker grounded back to the pitcher then Martin’s grounder to short was misplayed to get Burton home.
Lonoke got out of the inning with a pair of groundouts to keep it 1-0.
J.T. Parker held Lonoke off the board until the third. After a lead-off single, he retired the next two. A walk on a 3-1 count kept the inning alive. The next batter lined a 2-1 pitch to center for an RBI single to tie the game.
Bryant’s big home third began with a single by Burton. Holt walked then J.T. Parker’s sacrifice bunt was misplayed loading the bases for Martin, who walked to force in the go-ahead run.
Holt scored on a passed ball then Pabon cracked a single to left to drive in two, making it 5-1. And when the ball was misplayed in the outfield, Pabon wound up at second.
Morrow reached on an error but when Pabon tried to score, he was thrown out at the plate. But Cade Parker singled to keep things going. A base hit by Greiner loaded the bases and Myles picked up an RBI with a grounder to second.
Lonoke’s three-run rally in the fourth came after Pabon relieved. A double and a walk set the table then an error put both runners in the scoring position. Pabon struck out the next batter but issued a walk. A single loaded the bases then a balk allowed a run to score.
Martin relieved and surrendered an RBI single that made it 6-5 before getting the final out on a fly to Greiner in right.
Bryant threatened to increase that margin in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, J.T. Parker walked, and Martin was hit by a pitch. Pabon was plunked as well, loading the bases but Lonoke wriggled out the jam to keep it a one-run game.
A walk, a single and a sacrifice produced the tying run. A single and a hit by pitch with two down led to a walk that force in the go-ahead run. A single made it 8-6.
In the bottom of the fifth, Bryant was set down in order as Lonoke claimed the crown.
Lonoke 4, Bryant 2
Lonoke held a 2-1 lead when the rain hit on Sunday. When the game resumed on Monday, the host team added single runs in the third and the fourth. Bryant rallied for a run in the top of the fifth but had a runner thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
In the top of the sixth, Bryant was retired 1-2-3 to end the game.
Bryant scored first in the game. Burton led off the contest with a double. The next two were retired then Burton moved to third as Martin worked a walk. Martin stole second and when the ball got away from the Lonoke catcher, Burton scored.
Lonoke loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning on a single, a walk and a hit batsman. A run scored on a groundout then another pair of walks forced in the second tally.
Neither team mounted much offense in the second but, in the third, Bryant threatened. Walks were issued to Burton, Holt and J.T. Parker to load the bases with one out. But a pair of popouts followed and they were all stranded.
The game was suspended due to lightning as the bottom of the third began. So, on Monday, Lonoke took advantage of a walk, a single, an error and a two-out base hit to add to the lead.
After Bryant was set down in order in the top of the fourth, Lonoke used a trio of two-out singles to make it 4-1.
In the top of the fifth, Holt doubled with two away then J.T. Parker traded places with him, doubling to left. Martin singled to left but, trying to score, Parker was thrown out at the plate.