WHITE HALL — The players that make up the Bryant 15-year-old All-Stars and the White Hall 15-year-old All-Stars have a history. They have met in some crucial games over the last couple of years, beaten each other at crucial times with Bryant getting the better of it in the most important moments — like last year’s State tourney final in which Bryant came back to beat White Hall twice to take the title after White Hall had knocked Bryant into the losers bracket right off the bat. Then there was the Regional semifinals when Bryant won again to make it into the championship round.
And there was more when they were 13’s as the Bryant bunch was on their way to eventually win a Babe Ruth World Series.[more]
So, even though they were meeting in the first round of this year’s Babe Ruth District Tournament, there was plenty of intensity and a little more celebrating than usual when White Hall held on for a 3-2 win.
Bryant, again, was sent to the losers bracket by White Hall. The Bryant Stars were set to play Saturday at 12:30 p.m., in an elimination game, hoping to advance to the losers bracket final later in the day.
The Bryant 15’s include Zach Cambron, Evan Castleberry, Hayden Daniel, Josh Davis, Evan Ethridge, Cody Gogus, Tyler Green, Riley Hall, Blain Jackson, Tyler Nelson, Cameron Price, Daniel Richards, Tryce Schalchlin, Devon Sears and Marcus Wilson. The team will be managed by Jimmy Parker with assistance from Tony Ethridge.
“Tyler Nelson pitched a great game,” stated Parker of his starter on the mound. “He deserved better but we just couldn’t buy a hit when we needed it. We left a ton of runners on base.”
Actually, there were 11 left on base including two in the fifth, two in the sixth and three more in the seventh, contributing to the frustration of the Bryant Stars who were limited to just four hits in the game. White Hall starter Tyler Carr handcuffed the Bryant Stars then was relieved in the seventh by Hunter Hale and Jeremy Sprinkle who eventually squelched Bryant’s last comeback bid.
Nelson only allowed two unearned runs on four hits in five innings. Hayden Daniel worked the sixth when White Hall added another unearned run.
Bryant had gone down in order in the top of the first then Nelson retired the first two in the home half and was a strike away from getting out of the inning when Clay Cannon singled to right. Again, with Percy Arnold at the plate, Nelson was within a strike of escaping but the 3-2 pitch was a ball. Hale followed with a grounder with eyes up the middle and when the ball was misplayed in center, Cannon scored. Another error, moments later, allowed Arnold to come home as well.
Bryant got on the board in the top of the second but needed a little help of their own. Green and Schalchlin opened the inning with singles but both were forced out on fielder’s choices. Gogus got a bunt down but Carr got the throw to third in time for the first force. Jackson grounded to short and, again, a throw to third retired the lead runner.
Still, with runners at first and second, Price hit one to short that was booted allowing Gogus to score. Jackson went to third and Price to second but a fly to right ended the inning with White Hall still up 2-1.
Nelson pitched around a pair of walks in the second and two more in the third. White Hall loaded the bases in the fourth on a one-out walk and a pair of singles. But, on a tap in front of the plate, Jackson, the Bryant catcher, fielded it, stepped on the plate and threw to first for an inning-ending doubleplay.
Nelson finished his stint with a 1-2-3 fifth.
Meanwhile, Bryant’s batters couldn’t break through either. Carr issued a walk to Nelson in the third but nothing else. In the fourth, Jackson stroked a two-out single but Sears, on as a courtesy runner, was stranded.
In the fifth, Cambron reached on an error, Daniel walked and Nelson got a sacrifice down to give Bryant runners on second and third with one out and the heart of the order due up but Carr induced a pair of infield pops to escape.
After Carr struck out the first two in the sixth, he hit Jackson and walked Price before getting Ethridge to bounce to third for a force that ended the threat.
In the bottom of the sixth, Daniel retired the first batter he faced but Sprinkle worked a walk. An errant pickoff throw allowed him to advance and, after another strikeout, lead-off batter Landon Reed singled to left to drive in the run before he was picked off by Davis, in at catcher, to end the inning.
Down 3-1, Bryant had the right people up starting at the top of the order with Daniel who drew a four-pitch walk. And when Nelson also drew a free pass, it looked like Bryant was in business. After a pitching change, Wilson worked the count to 2-2 then was trying to get a timeout as he stepped out of the box only to have the pitch come in for strike three.
Green popped out but then Schalchlin came through with a clutch single to get Daniel home. A walk to Gogus loaded the bases but, on a 3-2 pitch, a called third strike ended the game.
“They’re a good team, don’t get me wrong but we didn’t play up to our capability and I’ve got to do a better job of moving runners,” Parker said. “It’s tough to lose to them because they’re our rivals and it gets a little chippy.”