One step closer to Williamsport, Pa.
The Bryant All-Stars needed both games but, with a 3-0 win over the rival White Hall All-Stars on Tuesday night, they captured the 2016 12U Little League State championship at Bishop Park, qualifying them for the Southwest Regional tourney in Waco, Texas set for Aug. 3-10. The Regional winner qualifies to play in the renowned Little League World Series in Williamsport.
White Hall, which Bryant had defeated 5-1 earlier in the winners bracket final, battled past the Bismarck All-Stars to challenge for the State title. And, with an 8-4 win over Bryant in the first game on Tuesday night, White Hall forced a winner-take-all final in which Connor Martin and J.T. Parker combined for a four-hit shutout.
The Bryant team, coached by Jason Greiner, includes Braedon Boyce, Gage Buford, Gavin Burton, Caleb Greiner, Drew Hatman, Martin, Colby Morrow, Calvin Myles, Kyler Pabon, J.T. Parker Cade Parker, Turner Seelinger and Hayden Thompson.
Myles, Pabon and Morrow paced the Bryant offense in the finale with two hits each. Pabon drove in two runs with a pair of doubles.
On the mound, Martin pitched into the fifth inning allowing all four of White Hall’s hits and walking three while striking out 10.
J.T. Parker relieved with one out in the fifth and retired all five batters he faced including two on strikes.
All of the runs in the game scored in the top of the third. Myles lined a single to right and Burton beat out a bunt single to start the inning. Pabon ripped a 3-1 delivery for a double that chased both runs home. With one out, Martin singled and it was 3-0.
Martin had pitched around a lead-off walk in the bottom of the first. He then struck out the side. He fanned another to end the second after a two-out error.
After a lead-off single in the third, he retired the side, finishing with two more strikeouts.
White Hall managed a single and a walk with one out in the bottom of the fourth only to have Martin strike out the next two to keep it 3-0.
Pabon’s second double came in the top of the fifth but was wasted. White Hall then made an earnest effort to get on the board in the home half. With one out, a pair of singles and a walk had the bases loaded. Again, however, Martin escaped the jam with two strikeouts to send it to the sixth.
After Bryant was retired 1-2-3 in the top half, White Hall managed to get a runner to second on a one-out error in the bottom of the sixth. But the runner was caught trying to steal third by Burton. A grounder to Myles at second produced the final out and the Bryant celebration.
White Hall 8, Bryant 4
White Hall forced the finale by jumping out to a lead early and hanging on for the win in the opening game of the night.
Trailing 2-0, Bryant surged to a lead in the bottom of the first. Myles walked, Burton singled and both moved up a base on an errant throw. A passed ball allowed Myles to score then Pabon singled in Burton.
With one out, Morrow lined a single that chased Pabon home to make it 3-2.
But White Hall didn’t slow down, taking a commanding lead with four runs in the top of the second and another in the top of the third.
Bryant couldn’t get much going until the home fifth when Pabon doubled to left, tagged and went to third on Martin’s fly to center then scored on a two-out wild pitch.
In their last chance in the home sixth, Hatman reached second on a bad throw from third but White Hall doubled Hatman up of a fly to right by Greiner. J.T. Parker’s grounder to short was misplayed but the game ended on Boyce’s grounder to third.