BAY CITY, Texas — From Bay City, Texas to the Puget Sound — the Seattle, Wash., area — the Bryant 13-year-old All-Stars are headed to the Babe Ruth World Series after a heart-stopping 5-4 win over Tri-County, Texas for the championship of the Southwest Regional Tournament Monday night.
Bryant, which went undefeated in the tourney including a 1-0 win over Tri-County on Saturday, snapped a 3-3 tie Monday with a run in the top of the sixth then added a run of padding with another in the top of the seventh.
Alex Shurtleff, who pitched the one-hit shutout on Tuesday, relieved in the fifth and worked around a pair of walks in the bottom of the sixth. In the seventh, however, a bad-hop single and an error put the potential tying runs on base with one out. An infield hit loaded the bases then a run scored on a grounder to first.
With the tying and winning runs in scoring position, Shurtleff ended it with a called third strike on a full count and the Bryant players began their celebration.
The Bryant team is managed by Jerry East with assistance from Rick Brown and Randy Kelly. The team includes Logan Allen, Drew Brown, Cameron Coleman, Jake East, Jeffery Hastings, Dylan Hurt, Austin Kelly, Hayden Knowles, Garrett Misenheimer, Aaron Orender, Kyle Sahr, Shurtleff and Diego Vargas.
As it turned out, the winning run scored on a wild pitch in the top of the seventh. East had singled then raced to third on an errant pickoff throw before scoring on the wild pitch. With one out, Shurtleff walked but was forced at second as Misenheimer reached base. A grounder to short by Kelly ended the inning.
The tie-breaking tally in the sixth was scored by Hastings on a squeeze play with Allen getting the bunt down for a hit. Hastings had singled with one out, swiped second and taken third on an infield hit by Orender. Allen then squeezed in Hastings.
Tri-County turned a doubleplay to end the inning, trailing 4-3.
Bryant had taken the lead in the first when East walked, Hurt ripped a double to left and Shurtleff singled in a run. Two scored when Misenheimer grounded out to first.
After that, Bryant put two on in the third on a double by Shurtleff and a walk to Misenheimer but a force out ended the threat. Walks to Hastings and Coleman went for naught in the fourth.
Hurt blanked Tri-County on one hit over the first three innings. He retired the first six he faced then issued a lead-off walk in the third. But a tap back to the mound resulted in a force at second. Another walk put runners at first and second when Tri-County got its first hit to load the bases. But Hurt picked off the runner at third then escaped on a grounder to Orender at first.
Tri-County, however, broke through with its three runs in the fourth, which started with a walk, a single to center and a double to right. Another base hit drove in a run then the third tally came in on a force at second. Hurt kept it to that by fanning the last two in the inning.
Kelly relieved in the fifth and worked around a pair of one-out singles inducing a grounder to short for a force at second then getting a pop to third to end the threat.