Needing two wins, Bryant 10’s prevail to earn trip to World Series

By Madison McEntire

LEVELLAND, Texas — The Bryant 10-year-old All-Stars captured the 2011 Cal Ripken Southwest Regional title on Tuesday, July 26, by[more] completing their five-game run through the loser’s bracket by sweeping Gulfport, Miss., by scores of 11-1 and 16-9. Next up for the All-Stars is a trip to the Cal Ripken 10-year-old World Series, which will be played in Winchester, Va., beginning on Aug. 13.

The team members are Logan Catton, Logan Chambers, Logan Grant, Cade Dupree, Nathan McFarland, Coby Greiner, Will McEntire, Ryan Lessenberry, Hunter Mullings, Ty Jackson, Konnor Clontz, Jacob Shepard, Brock Bariola, and Jacob Coppick. The manager is Michael Catton and the assistant coaches are Phillip Dupree and Madison McEntire.

Bryant 16, Gulfport 9 – Game 2

Just minutes after its 11-1 win in the first game, Bryant picked up where it left off and jumped to a quick 3-0 lead in the winner-take-all game.

In the top of the first, Catton led off with a fly to right that was dropped for an error. Lessenberry then dropped down a sac bunt and the Gulfport pitcher threw the ball past the first baseman and into the right field corner. Catton scored on the error and Lessenberry hustled all the way to third. Chambers then walked to put two on. With Grant batting, a wild pitch brought in Lessenberry and moved Chambers to second. Grant grounded to the pitcher for the first out but Chambers moved to third on the throw. Dupree lined a single to right to plate Chambers. McFarland’s grounder forced Dupree at second and then Bariola grounded out to second to end the inning but Bryant led 3-0.

Chambers took the mound for Bryant and fanned the first batter but then gave up a grounder between first and second that hit the lip of the outfield grass and went for a single. Gulfport’s third batter, who was voted the tournament MVP, lined a shot to right field that Greiner snagged with a leaping catch. He fired to first to double off the runner and end the inning.

With two outs in the second, Catton doubled to left-center but was left stranded when Lessenberry ended the inning with a grounder to second. In Gulfport’s half of the inning, the first batter lined a ball to center that Catton dove for but could not come up with. Chambers got a fly to Mullings in left for the first out but then allowed a single to left to left to put two on. A catcher’s interfence call on Lessenberry awarded the next batter first base and the bases were loaded. Gulfport’s number eight batter then lined the first pitch he saw into the gap in left-center to clear the bases, but Bryant cut him down trying for a triple with a relay from Catton to Grant to Dupree who applied the tag. Chambers fanned the next batter to end the inning but Gulfport had tied the game.

Bryant immediately took the lead back with a three-run third inning. Chambers led off with a walk and moved to second on a wild pitch. With one ball on Grant, Gulfport changed pitchers. Grant grounded a single to left to move Chambers to third. Another wild pitch moved Grant into scoring position and then Dupree grounded a single to left to score Chambers and move Grant to third. McFarland lined the first pitch he saw into right to score Grant as Dupree took second. Bariola grounded to the second baseman who tagged McFarland coming from first. Dupree moved to third and Bariola was safe at first on the play.

Shepard entered the game as a pinch runner for Bariola. Greiner bunted hard down the first-base line to bring in Dupree and move Shepard to second as Greiner was able to beat the throw to first. Mullings then got down another bunt and was out at first but moved Shepard and Greiner into scoring position. Catton walked to load the bases. Jackson batted for Lessenberry, who had become ill from the heat, and grounded to first to end the inning but Bryant had answered Gulfport’s three-run inning with a three-spot of its own and led 6-3.

In the bottom of the third, Gulfport scratched out a run. With two outs, a soft grounder just inside the third base bag went for a double. The next batter singled to center to bring the runner home from second but the batter was out on a relay from Catton to Greiner when he tried to stretch his hit into a double. After three innings, Bryant led 6-4.

Bryant padded the lead with two runs in the top of the fourth. Chambers led off and grounded a single to right field. Grant hit a grounder to shortstop who forced Chambers out at second. A wild pitch moved Grant to second and then Dupree lined to third for the second out. McFarland hit a missile that hopped once and went off the third baseman’s chest for a single. Grant took third on the play.

With Shepard at the plate, the Gulfport pitcher missed the return throw from the catcher on the first pitch and, as the ball rolled near second base, Grant scampered home and McFarland was able to get all the way to third on the throw to the plate to try to get Grant. Shepard used his speed to beat out a grounder to third. McFarland scored on the play, with Shepard advancing to second on a throwing error. Greiner ended the inning with a grounder back to the mound. Bryant now led 8-4.

Gulfport quickly got the two runs back in its next at-bat. The first two batters singled and a wild pitch moved the runners up. Chambers got a grounder to Grant at shortstop for the first out with a run scoring on the play and the trail runner moving to third. The next batter singled to right-center to bring in the run and he took second on a throwing error.

Chambers, at that point, informed the Bryant coaches that his arm was hurting and McEntire was brought in to take over on the mound. On a 1-2 pitch, Gulfport’s nine-hole batter lined a shot to left. Greiner, who had just moved to left as Chambers took over at second, charged in and made a lunging catch just off the top of the grass for the second out.

A four-pitch walk put two on. A wild pitch moved the runners up but McEntire got a pop up to Chambers on a 3-2 pitch to end the threat. Bryant’s lead was cut to 8-6.

In the top of the fifth, Bryant pushed the lead back to four runs. McEntire led off and reached on an infield single to the shortstop. Catton walked to put two on. Lessenberry re-entered and struck out and then Chambers flied to left for the second out. A wild pitch moved the runners up before Grant lined a solid single to center to score them. Grant took second on the throw home to move into scoring position but Dupree grounded to short to end the inning.

In the home half, McEntire threw just four pitches to get three outs on a fly to Shepard in right, a grounder to Dupree at third, and a pop to Chambers at second. Bryant led 10-6 with one inning to play.

Hoping to pick up some insurance runs heading into the bottom of the sixth, Bryant batted around and plated six runs. McFarland started the rally with a line drive single to center. Shepard reached on an error by the Gulfport pitcher. Greiner bunted again and reached when no one covered first base.

With the bases loaded, McEntire popped up and the infield fly was called for the first out. Catton stepped in and singled on a fly to left that scored McFarland and Shepard and put Greiner on second. Lessenberry was hit by the first pitch to reload the bases for Chambers who hit a sharp grounder on the hard infield that went all the way to the fence in center for a double. Greiner and Catton scored and Lessenberry moved to third. He scored from there on a wild pitch as Chambers moved to third. Grant grounded back to the mound but Chambers broke for home on the throw and slid in safely. Dupree fanned to end the inning but Bryant had a comfortable 16-6 lead with just three outs to go.

After pitching five innings in Game one, Grant had one inning left and came in to pitch the sixth. Gulfport did not go quietly as the first batter singled past Greiner at second and then moved to second base on a single to center. A wild pitch moved the runners up but then Grant recorded a strikeout for the first out. The ninth batter in Gulfport’s lineup singled on a high-hopper to Greiner at second as the runner from third scored and the trail runner moved to third.

Grant threw three straight strikes past Gulfport’s leadoff batter to bring Bryant within one out of victory. A walk on a 3-2 pitch loaded the bases and then Grant hit the next batter to force in a run. A five-pitch walk plated another Gulfport runner but then Grant’s next pitch was popped to Chambers at short and Bryant’s dugout stormed the field to celebrate their regional championship.

Bryant 11, Gulfport 1 – Game 1

Grant took the mound for Bryant in Game one and set Gulfport down in the first. Chambers snagged a soft liner for the first out and then threw out the next batter at first. After a two-out walk, Grant got a swinging strikeout to end the inning.

In its first at-bat, Bryant immediately jumped into the lead. Catton led off with a line-drive single to center. Lessenberry singled on a bunt and Catton was able to go all the way to third on the play. Chambers grounded a chopper to first that hit Lessenberry on the foot. He was out and Chambers was awarded first base while Catton remained at third.

Grant grounded a single to left to score Catton and move Chambers to second. Dupree bounced a pitch to the shortstop who fired to second to force Chambers for the second out. After a wild pitch moved the runners up, McFarland grounded a triple down the line in left to score two. Shepard bounced out to the second baseman to end the inning but Bryant had an early 3-0 lead.

Grant set Gulfport down in order in the second on a comebacker to the mound, a grounder to Dupree at third and another grounder to the mound. Bryant also went in order in the second on two grounders to second and a hard shot by Catton that was fielded nicely by the Gulfport first baseman.

Gulfport got on the board in the third. The number eight hitter singled to center and the next batter was hit by a pitch. After the runners advanced on a wild pitch, a walk loaded the bases with no outs. A grounder to left plated the runner from third and the bases were still loaded.

Grant recorded the first out by getting a swinging strikeout on a nice change-up. His next pitch was grounded to Dupree at third who fired to Lessenberry at the plate for the second out. A grounder to Greiner at second ended the inning.

Although they had cut the lead to 3-1, Bryant had worked out of a bases-load jam and had the momentum heading into the bottom of the third.

Bryant then blew the game open when 10 men came to the plate and produced five runs. Lessenberry led off with a four-pitch walk. Chambers grounded to shortstop and Lessenbery slid into second, narrowly beating the throw. Grant lined softly to the shortstop for the first out but Dupree lined a double into the left-center gap to score Lessenberry and move Chambers to third.

Chambers scampered home on a wild pitch as Dupree moved to third. With a 2-0 count on McFarland, Gulfport changed pitchers. McFarland resumed his at-bat and walked to put two on. Another wild pitch scored Dupree and put McFarland to second. Shepard walked to put runners at first and second. Mullings fanned for the second out.

With Greiner batting, two wild pitches moved the runners around with McFarland scoring and Shepard ending up on third. Greiner reached on an error by the Gulfport shortstop with Shepard scoring on the play. Catton walked but then Lessenberry grounded out to shortstop to end the inning. Bryant had a commanding 8-1 lead after three innings.

In the top of the fourth, Grant allowed a leadoff infield single to short but then got a grounder to the mound, a strikeout, and another comebacker to end the inning.

In its half of the fourth, Bryant upped their lead. Chambers led off and reached on an error by the second baseman. Grant lined a single to center. After the runners moved up on a wild pitch, Dupree walked to load the bases.

Gulfport changed pitchers again and McFarland walked to bring in a run. Bariola hit for Shepard and smacked a grounder to the second baseman who tagged McFarland coming from first for the first out as Grant scored on the play and Dupree moved to third. Mullings struck out for the second out. McEntire hit for Greiner and had a chance to give Bryant a 10-run lead and a run-rule victory but lined softly to third to end the inning.

Gulfport’s leadoff batter singled to third to start the fifth. Grant walked the next hitter to put two runners on. The next batter lined sharply to Chambers at short who fired to Greiner at the second base bag to double off the runner at second. Greiner fired to McFarland at first and Bryant just narrowly missed a triple play as the runner got back to first by just a fraction of a second before the ball got there. The next batter popped to Chambers at short and Bryant went into its half of the fifth needing just one run to end the game.

Catton led off with a single on a fly ball that went off the glove of the diving right fielder. Lessenberry reached on a single to the third baseman and Catton moved to second. Chambers walked on four pitches to load the bases. Grant hit a grounder to the shortstop and Catton scored ahead of the throw to the plate to give Bryant the 11-1 rune-rule victory and set up a winner-take-all championship game.

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