By Rob Patrick
The White Hall All-Stars continued to be a thorn in the side of the Little Rock Junior Deputy All-Stars on Sunday.
After being knocked from the winners bracket by White Hall at the State tournament, the Little Rock team ran into them again in the Southwest Regional 14-year-old Babe Ruth tourney at Bryant.
And White Hall struck for seven runs in the first inning on the way to a 10-3 win over Little Rock. White Hall advanced to the winners bracket final against Fort Smith on Monday while Junior Deputy had to comeback later in the day on Sunday to face McComb, Miss., in an elimination contest.
Chris Smith had three hits and Clay Cannon two to lead White Hall.
Errors haunted the Little Rock team during the opening outburst. With one out, Smith had legged out an infield hit but and error followed allowing Hunter Hale to reach. Joseph Stewart's single to center made it 1-0. Tyler Carr's flyball to center was misplayed and another run scored. Cannon blasted a two-run double and White Hall had extended the lead to 4-0.
Yet another miscue brought Cannon home as Justin McCarty reached second. After Jeremy Sprinkle walked and Michael Acosta beat out an infield hit to load the bases, Little Rock finally secured that elusive second out on a force but McCarty scored on the play to make it 6-0. Smith's second hit, a single to left, brought Sprinkle home to make it 7-0. Hale walked to load the bases but Little Rock was finally able to record the third out to end the inning.
Gamely, Junior Deputy tried to rally in the bottom of the innings but could only muster after consecutive singles to open the inning by Garrison Marshall, Michael Haun and Logan Stafford. With one out, Colin Carrone drew a walk to force in the run but that proved to be all Little Rock would get in the inning as Sprinkle, the White Hall starter, worked out of the inning leaving the bases loaded.
Singles by McCarty, Sprinkle and Zac Gober after two were out extanded Little Rock's lead in the second.
Sprinkle worked around a single in the bottom of the inning and, in the third, Smith doubled, reached third on an error as Hale reached. Smith held on a pop to center by Stewart that fell in only to have Haun, the Little Rock center fielder, throw to second for a force. Carr reached on another error as Smith scored. Cannon singled to load the bases before a two-out walk to Sprinkle made it 10-1.
Junior Deputy whittled on the lead in the fourth when Nathan Woodell singled, J.T. Thompson walked and Haun ripped a triple to deep right. He scored too when Stafford's fly to right was misplayed, making it 10-4. Stafford stole second and third but was stranded as Sprinkle retired the last two in the inning.
In the fifth, Sprinkle surrendered a walk and hit a batter with two down. Hale relieved and got the final out. He went on to retire the next six in a row to close the game out.
Stafford, who relieved Andrew Mashburn in the fourth, gave his team a chance to rally by pitching hitless relief over the final four innings. After striking out Ronnie Gray to start his stint, Stafford hit Smith, only to come back and retire the next 11 straight.