LONOKE — In the earliest hours of Sunday, June 17 — Fathers Day — the Bryant 10-year-old All-Stars battled the Little Rock Junior Deputy All-Stars for the championship of the Lonoke Fathers Day Classic.
In their fifth game of the day, Bryant’s Stars had defeated Junior Deputy, 6-4, to force the winner-take-all final (the “if” game), a sixth game for them on Saturday. As Saturday turned into Sunday, Bryant rallied from a 6-1 deficit to within 7-6 through four innings but Junior Deputy put together a four-run fifth then held on for the championship with an 11-6 win.
The game ended after 1:30 a.m.
Members of the Bryant team include Chantz Clendening, Austin Cook,
Matthew Curtis, Jayden Foster, Jonathan Hall, Dawson Harris, Tyler Jordan, Braydan Lester
, Trey McKim, Joshua Prather
, Braxton St. Clair and Austin Trimble. The team is managed by Mike McKim with assistance from Jim Harris and Brian Hall.
Bryant opened the tournament on Friday night with an 8-1 win over Cabot. Saturday morning, they suffered a 6-2 loss to Junior Deputy, which began the long, hard march through the losers bracket. With an 8-1 win over Carlisle, Bryant got on a roll. Lonoke fell by the wayside 8-4 then the Bryant Stars ousted Jacksonville, 11-2, to get to the championship round against Junior Deputy.
Junior Deputy 11, Bryant 6
On the heels of their win over Junior Deputy, Bryant’s Stars jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first of the finale. Lester drew a walk, stole second then scored on a clutch two-out hit by McKim.
After Lester, Bryant’s starting pitcher, set the Little Rock team down 1-2-3 in the first, he retired the first batter of the top of the second before the Junior Deputy bats came alive, producing a six-run uprising.
Bryant began its comeback with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Prather drew a lead-off walk and Harris singled him to third. With one out, Prather scored when Trimble hit a roller up the first-base line. Lester followed with a single to plate Harris, making it 6-3.
Little Rock put a couple of two-out hits together in the third to tack on a run in the top of the third. Bryant countered with two more. McKim singled and stole second with one out. With two down, walks to Prather and Harris loaded the bases for Clendening who singled in a run. A walk to Trimble forced in a second run to trim it to 7-5.
Hall, on in relief in the third, kept Junior Deputy off the board in the fourth. In the bottom of the inning, Hall and McKim singled and Curtis walked to load the bases. Prather drove in a run but that’s all Bryant could get as they got within a run of catching up.
Junior Deputy, however, put together three hits and an error to score four times in the top of the fifth. Bryant made some noise in the bottom of the inning when Jordan was hit by a pitch and Lester singled but the Little Rock team wriggled off the hook and closed out the win.
Bryant 6, Junior Deputy 4
Trailing 4-3 going into their final at-bat, Bryant’s Stars rallied for three in the top of the fifth then Foster, the Bryant starter on the mound, set down Little Rock in order in the bottom of the inning to force the final game.
The winning uprising began with singles by McKim and Hall. With one out, Jordan cracked a base hit to load the bases. Harris got a run home with a grounder to second then Trimble’s base hit put Bryant ahead, 5-4. Lester’s base knock drove in the final run.
Both teams had opened the game with runs. Bryant put together a two-out uprising in the first. Curtis walked and stole second and, after McKim drew a free pass, Hall rapped an RBI single.
Junior Deputy tied it in the bottom of the inning then scored again in the second to take a 2-1 lead. It stayed that way until Bryant struck again in the fourth on singles by Prather and Jordan, a two-out walk to Lester and a clutch two-run single from Foster that gave his team a 3-2 lead.
Junior Deputy, however, answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning to regain the advantage, setting up Bryant’s fifth-inning heroics.
Bryant 11, Jacksonville 2
A five-run first got Bryant off to a fast start in a three-inning romp. Prather worked on the mound into the third before getting relief help from Hall to close it out.
The big first started with a walk to Lester, who stole his way to third and scored on a single by Foster. He too swiped second and third. McKim was hit by a pitch and Hall walked to set the table for Prather who singled in two runs. He stole second so when Jordan’s grounder to first was misplayed, two more scored, making it 5-0.
Jacksonville managed a run in the bottom of the second but stranded a man at third as Prather ended the inning with a strikeout.
Bryant’s second began with a walk to Foster and a single by Curtis. After the duo pulled off a double steal, they scored easily when McKim ripped a triple. Hall was hit by a pitch and stole second, setting the stage for a two-out, two-run single by Jordan to make it 9-1.
Jacksonville took advantage of a pair of walks and a hit batsman to get a run in the third but Bryant prevented a second from scoring when Hall got the lead runner in a rundown between third and home and he was tagged out by Trimble at the plate.
Bryant ended the game with two in the bottom of the inning, keyed by singles form Lester and Curtis and a walk to McKim.
Bryant 8, Lonoke 4
A six-run second put Bryant in the driver’s seat in an elimination game against the host team. Trimble shut out Lonoke over the first two innings as the Stars built an 8-0 lead. A late uprising proved too little, two late for Lonoke.
Bryant took a 2-0 lead in the first on a double by Lester, a walk to Foster, an RBI groundout by Hall and a single by McKim. Curtis followed with a double but Jacksonville got out of the inning with no further damage.
In the second, however, Bryant scored the maximum of six runs keyed by a bases-loaded triple by Foster. Harris had walked and Trimble had been hit by a pitch to start the outburst. Lester’s single loaded the bases for Foster who cleared the bags. A walk to Hall continued the uprising. McKim chased both runs home with a triple and scored as well on an error to make it 8-0.
Bryant 8, Carlisle 1
Hall limited Carlisle to four hits over three innings only giving up a run in the second as Bryant took control with three in the first and four in the second then putting the game out of reach in the third when Lester walked, stole a base and scored on a single by Foster.
The opening salvo by the Bryant Stars commenced with walks to Lester and Foster. Though Lester was out at third on a grounder by Hall, McKim came through with a double to chase in the first two runs. He would score eventually as well after Harris walked and Curtis was plunked by a pitch.
Leading 3-1 when they came up in the bottom of the second, the Stars went to work again starting with a single by Lester. One-out walks to Hall and McKim loaded the bases for Prather, who singled in a run. Walks to Harris, Curtis and Jordan forced in runs to make it 7-1.
Junior Deputy 6, Bryant 2
Junior Deputy scored two runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth to break up a 2-2 game and send Bryant to the losers’ bracket. The Little Rock team put up two runs in the top of the first and held that 2-0 lead until Bryant rallied to tie it in the third.
Foster singled to start the Bryant uprising. He was forced at second, however, when he had to hold up on Hall’s pop to center. Though the ball fell in, Foster was unable to get to second in time to avoid the force.
But Hall stole second and, with two down, Cook, Curtis, Jordan and Prather socked consecutive singles though the inning ended when Curtis was thrown out at the plate trying to score a third run.
Lester and Hall had singles in the fourth but were stranded. Trailing 6-2 going into their final at-bat, the Starts managed two-out singles by Jordan and Prather but the game ended when Jordan was thrown out trying to reach third.