CABOT — After being no-hit in the State opener, the Bryant 11-year-old Cal Ripken All-Stars battled back through the losers bracket to finish in third place at the State Tournament. In the process, they nailed down the third of three bids to Regionals to be held in Jonesboro beginning July 30.
The comeback began with a 9-3 win over Benton on Saturday. Later in the day, they ousted Cabot, 12-0. On Sunday, Bryant eliminated Marion 12-0 to set up a game with Hot Springs with the winner advancing to the championship round. But Hot Springs prevailed 10-1.
Bryant’s 11-year-olds, coached by Bryon Glenn with assistance from Johnny Alliston and Scott Yant, include Connor Alliston, Bailey Bowers, Luke Brantley, Chase Brooks, Zach Byars, Jordan Gentry, Caleb McElyea, Liam Miller, Connor Riley, Connor Tatum, Matthew Vangilder and Hunter Winkles.
Regionals will be in Jonesboro beginning July 30.
Hot Springs 10, Bryant 1
Hot Springs took advantage of an error and a pair of walks to a couple of hits to score three times in the first inning then a solo homer in the second made it 4-0.
Bryant loaded the bases in the bottom of the second on a walk to Miller and singles by Byars and Brooks but couldn’t get a run in.
In the third, however, Tatum was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a balk. With two out, Vangilder singled him home. Miller walked but Hot Springs got the final out to keep it 4-1.
It stayed that way until Hot Springs erupted for six runs in the fifth.
Bryant 12, Marion 0
Tatum pitched a two-hit shutout with four strikeouts and no walks as Bryant rolled to victory by scoring in each of the four innings, sparked by Bowers, who blasted two home runs.
He belted a three-run homer to get the ball rolling in the first. It followed singles by Tatum and Alliston.
In the second, Winkles singled, stole his way to third and scored on a groundout by Brooks. Vangilder reached on an error, stole his way to third and scored on a two-out single by Alliston. Moments later, Bowers unloaded again with a two-run shot to make it 7-0.
The onslaught continued in the third when Byars walked and Riley reached on an error that allowed Byars, who had stolen second, to score.
With one out, Vangilder drew a walk and a double steal put runners at second and third for Tatum who singled in a run. Vangilder scored when Alliston grounded into a force at second ahead of a single by Bowers. McElyea’s drive to left was misplayed and Alliston scored to make it 11-0.
A walk and a pair of errors produced the final run in the fourth.
Bryant 12, Cabot 0
Bryant took advantage of 12 walks in three innings to blow out the host team while Alliston, with last-inning relief from McElyea, pitched a two-hit shutout.
Bowers and Brooks each had singles and Winkles doubled to contribute to a 3-run first. In the second, Bryant took advantage of a trio of walks with hits from Byars, Bowers and Brooks that produced a 6-0 lead.
In the third, a walk to Miller, a bunt single by Byars and a base hit by Riley set the stage for a six-run outburst. Tatum walked and Alliston singled. With one out, Vangilder walked and Winkles singled. Free passes to Brooks and Miller completed the inning.
Bryant 9, Benton 3
A six-run third put Bryant on the road to victory in the second round. Benton had taken a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second before Bryant got it going. The third began with a walk to Miller who stole second. Riley and Tatum singled and, an out later, Bowers’ drive to center was misplayed as Bryant grabbed the lead.
After Gentry walked, Vangilder singled, Winkles reached on an error and McElyea and Miller coaxed RBI walks.
Benton rallied for a pair of runs in the bottom of the third, trimming the margin to 6-3 but Byars, on in relief of Bowers, got out of the inning and pitched out of trouble in the fourth and fifth.
Bryant padded its lead in the top of the fourth. Brooks doubled to get things rolling. Tatum and Alliston walked. Brooks scored as Tatum was forced out a third with Bowers reaching base. Alliston was thrown out trying to go to third on a grounder to the right side by Gentry then Vangilder cracked a two-run double to set the final score.
Byars worked around an error and a walk in the bottom of the inning with the help of his catcher Vangilder who threw out a runner at second to end the game.