HOT SPRINGS — As 7-year-olds playing in a tournament of teams with 8-year-olds, the Bryant All-Stars went 3-2 to finish as the fourth-place team in District tournament play June 27-28. That record included two out of three wins against 7-year-old teams plus a win and a loss to 8-year-olds.
Bryant opened with a 9-2 win over Pine Bluff Seabrook’s 7’s, then dismissed the Hot Springs 7’s, 14-1, before running into the Bryant 8’s. They played with them for a while before absorbing a 12-1 loss.
The Bryant 7’s battled back to eliminate Pine Bluff Seabrook’s 8’s, 15-4, before being ousted themselves by the Benton 7’s, a team they beat in a tournament leading up to the District. This time, however, Benton prevailed 13-8.
By the way, Benton’s 7’s lost to Benton’s 8’s in the losers bracket finals to gain a rematch with the Bryant 8’s in the championship round. On Monday, Benton avenged its earlier loss to Bryant with a 6-1 win. The two teams were set to battle for the championship on Tuesday.
Bryant’s 7 year olds, coached by Mike Meaders with assistance from Blake Knight and Bill Drennan, include Cade Drennan, Kelub Freeman, Will Graves, Hayden Hilson, Rhett James, Tyler Jordan, Braden Knight, Tyler LaRue, Brayden Lester, Jake Meadors, Riley Morales, and Shane Small.
This was the first year for an 8-and-under District tournament which, with all teams automatically qualified for State, served as a tune-up. State will commence July 10 at Sherwood with Regionals in Lake Village beginning July 30.
Bryant 9, Pine Bluff Seabrook 7’s 2
Bryant’s Stars scored the maximum of six runs in the second to take control of the game and kept Pine Bluff off the scoreboard until the fourth.
The big inning began with consecutive singles by Hilson and Lester then back-to-back doubles by Knight and Graves. With one out, Larue cleared the bases with a triple. With two down, Jordan doubled and eventually scored to make it 6-0.
In the third, Meaders and Freeman belted two-baggers to add a run.
Pine Bluff had managed just one hit through three innings but, in the fourth, scored its two runs on a triple and three singles.
Bryant put the finishing touches on the win with two more in the fifth. Larue singled and, with one down, Jordan ripped a triple. A two-out single by Meaders brought Jordan home with the ninth run.
Bryant 14, Hot Springs 7’s 1
After falling behind 1-0 in the first, the Bryant Stars unleashed the offense with five-run uprisings in the second and third while holding Hot Springs without a base runner after the one-out RBI double in the first.
Bryant’s second got started with consecutive doubles by Graves, Knight and Lester. With one out, James got into the act with the fourth two-bagger of the inning. Two-out singles by Jordan, Larue and Meaders completed the inning.
In the third, Hilson cracked a one-out single in front of a double by Graves. With two down, Lester and Small drilled doubles and James cleaned house with a triple. A single by Morales made it 10-1.
Meaders singled to start a four-run fourth for Bryant. Doubles by Drennan and Freeman followed and, after Hilson got on, Graves belted his third two-bagger of the game. A single by Lester and a double by Small completed the onslaught.
Bryant 8’s 12, Bryant 7’s 1
Through two innings, the Bryant 7’s were down just 1-0 before the 8’s put together a five-run third. And, after the 7’s managed their run in the bottom of the third, the 8’s added six in the fourth to produce the final margin.
The Bryant 8’s took a 1-0 lead in the second when Nathan McFarland doubled and Cade Dupree singled him home. With one out, Garett Nguyen singled then, with two down, the Bryant 7’s got a force at third to end the inning.
The third featured singles by Logan Catton, Sawyer Holt, Ryan Lessenberry, Tristan Day, Logan Grant, Dupree and Will McEntire as the 8’s expanded the lead to 6-0.
The 7’s got on the board in the bottom of the inning when Knight singled and scored on a base hit by Freeman. On a grounder to second by James, Freeman made it to second but he was stranded there.
Hits by Cobe Greiner, Jake Cowell, Catton, Lessenberry, Day, Grant, Logan Chambers and McFarland produced the six-run fourth for the 8’s.
The 7’s threatened in their half of the fourth when Jordan and Larue singled but, after Meaders lined out to the pitcher, the 8’s got a force at third on a roller to first by Drennan then retired the side on a popup off Hilson’s bat.
Bryant 15, Pine Bluff Seabrook 8’s 4
The bats came back to life for Bryant’s 7’s against Seabrook’s 8’s as they stayed alive in the loser’s bracket.
It looked like it’d be a slugfest after an inning. Bryant ran up five runs and Pine Bluff answered with three.
Bryant’s came off a single by Larue, a double by Meaders and, with one out, consecutive two-base hits from Hilson, Graves and Lester. Freeman singled in Lester to make it 5-0.
After Seabrook got its three in the bottom of the inning, Bryant countered with five more in the second. Singles by James and Morales got the offense revved up. With one out, Larue and Meaders followed suit. Drennan drilled a double then scored on a hit by Hilson.
Pine Bluff managed another run in the third but could get no more.
Meanwhile, Bryant tacked on three in the fourth and two in the fifth.
The fourth-inning uprising was instigated by Small’s single. James doubled and, with one out, Jordan cracked a base hit. A double by Larue brought Jordan around to make it 13-4.
The fifth featured singles by Graves and Freeman around a double by Lester.
Benton 7’s 13, Bryant 7’s 8
Bryant led 6-2 after two innings but Benton rallied with four runs in the fourth and four more in the sixth on the way to victory.
In Bryant’s first, Larue got things started with a double. After Meaders and Drennan singled, Graves spanked a one-out double and Lester singled to cap the inning.
In the second, Small singled but was thrown out at second on a bouncer to the mound by James. Morales followed with a hit and, with two down, Larue smacked a double to make it 6-2.
Benton whittled two runs off the margin in the top of the third but Bryant got one of those back in the home half when Graves followed a one-out single by Hilson with a triple.
But the 7-4 lead disappeared when Benton put together four runs in the top of the fourth.
Bryant tied it with a run in the home half of the inning. Singles by Freeman, Small and Jordan produced the run.
Benton snapped the tie with a run in the fifth and, after Bryant filled the bases in the bottom of the inning, the four-run sixth put the game away.