By Madison McEntire
GULFPORT, Miss. — The Bryant 11-year-old All-Star team stranded 11 runners and waited out a three-hour[more] and 18-minute rain delay as they opened pool play in the 2012 Cal Ripken Southwest Regional tournament with a 3-1 loss to Plaquemine, La., on Friday, July 20.
Team member are Logan Catton, Cade Dupree, Coby Greiner, Will McEntire, Ryan Lessenberry, Hunter Mullings, Ty Jackson, Jacob Shepard, Jacob Coppock, Brock Bariola, Triston day, and Sawyer Webb. They are managed by Michael Catton with help from assistant coaches Phillip Dupree and Madison McEntire.
Bryant batted first and went quickly in order. Catton grounding to first, Dupree grounding to shortstop, and Coppock striking out on a full-count pitch. Webb started on the mound and walked the leadoff hitter on a 3-2 pitch. On the first pitch, the runner broke for second and appeared to be caught stealing on a fine throw by Lessenberry but the hard slide into second knocked the ball from Greiner’s glove. A sacrifice bunt moved the runner to third and then a walk put runners on the corners. After a steal put runners on second and third, the cleanup hitter grounded out to short, scoring the runner from third moving the trail runner to third. With two outs, Bryant caught a break when the return throw to the mound got by Webb but was backed up by Greiner who gunned the runner down as he tried to score on the play.
McEntire led off the second with a liner just over the third baseman’s head for a single and then moved to third on Greiner’s sac bunt. Mullings lined hard to third for the second out and then Day walked. Jackson popped out foul to the third baseman on a ball that would have been out of play in most parks but due to the large foul territory was a routine play.
Plaquemine upped its lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the second. Webb got the first batter on a grounder to Coppock at first who flipped to Webb covering the bag but then the next two batters walked. McEntire then took over on the mound and got a grounder to third for the second out as the runners moved up. Plaquemine’s nine-hole hitter stepped in and lofted a liner to Catton’s left at second base. Catton retreated and lunged but came up just short as the ball would not stay in the tip of his glove. Two runs scored but the batter was thrown out to end the inning as he tried to advance to second on the throw to the plate.
Webb led off the third with a single to center and stole second as Lessenberry struck out for the first out. Catton’s ground out to first moved Webb to third before Dupree was hit by pitch and Coppock walked on a 3-2 delivery. McEntire then fell behind 0-2 and fouled off three pitches before grounding to the second baseman who tagged Coppock coming from first to end the inning.
Plaquemine’s leadoff hitter fouled off four full-count pitches before doubling over Jackson’s head in right to start the bottom of the third. A grounder to Catton at second moved him to third and then he was left stranded when McEntire got a soft pop back to the mound and a strikeout.
Bryant loaded the bases again in the fourth but only plated one run. Greiner led off with a single to right and hustled to first to beat the throw from the right fielder. Mullings lined a single up the middle to put two on. Day grounded out to second, moving up both runners. Bariola hit for Jackson and, with after the first pitch, the skies opened and it began to pour.
Eventually, the teams were sent home and would return at 5 p.m., to finish the game. When play resumed, Bariola struck out looking for the second out. Webb then lined a pitch just out of the first baseman’s reach scoring Greiner and moving Mullings to third. Webb took second on the throw to put two in scoring position. Shepard hit for Lessenberry and, with a 1-2 count, was hit by a pitch to load the bases but Plaquemine ended the inning by getting Catton to ground out to third.
In the bottom of the fourth, McEntire retired the side in order on a grounder to first, a grounder to second and a comebacker to the mound.
Bryant left two more runners on in the top of the fifth. Dupree grounded out to short before Coppock walked. On an 0-2 pitch, Coppock broke to steal second as McEntire lined the pitch to center to put two on. After Shepard entered for McEntire as a courtesy runner, Greiner grounded to the shortstop. His flip to third forced Coppock for the second out. Then, after Mullings fouled off three two-strike pitches, the Plaquemine pitcher finally got him to swing and miss for the third out. In the bottom of the fifth, McEntire set Plaquemine down in order again, getting two easy grounders back to the mound and a grounder to second.
In Bryant’s final at-bat, Day was hit by the first pitch of the inning. Bariola lined a ball to left that looked like it would get down for a hit but the left fielder made a nice sliding catch for the first out. Webb grounded back to the mound for the second out as Day moved to second on the play. Lessenberry made the final out as he grounded to the first baseman, who flipped to the pitcher at the bag.
Due to the lengthy rain delay, Bryant’s 6:30 p.m. pool play game against Oak Grove, Miss., has been pushed back until late Friday. Start time was approximately 9:30 p.m.