EL DORADO — They wound up leaving no doubt about which team was the best at the[more] South Arkansas State Babe Ruth Tournament for 13-year-old teams. Not that they had left any in their previous post-season encounters either but, playing for the State championship and a trip to the Southwest Regional in Bay City, Texas, the Bryant team poured it on their rivals from Benton, winning 22-3 in just five innings.
Yes, this is baseball not football.
In nine post-season games now, the Bryant All-Stars have outscored the opposition by a total of 149 to 20.
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, Alex Shurtleff, Diego Vargas.
The team hammered five Benton pitchers for 20 hits including four each by Kelly and Orender. East, Shurtleff, Hastings and Allen added two apiece.
Bryant actually didn’t score in the first inning of the game. So when Benton put together a pair of doubles to get on the board in the bottom of the inning, the Bryant Stars found themselves trailing.
A rare thing.
But it didn’t last long. Bryant scored five in the top of the second and never looked back. Kelly’s first hit started the initial outburst. He stole second and third then scored on Orender’s first hit, a single. After he swiped his way to third, Allen doubled to make it 2-0.
East drew a walk and stole second then Hurt ripped a double over the centerfielder’s head to plate two more. Shurtleff traded places with Hurt, banging a drive to the gap in left-center for a two-bagger.
Benton got a run back in the bottom of the second off a single, a stolen base and a double. The inning ended when Kelly threw out a batter who was trying to turn a single into a double then, noting the lead runner was trying to sneak home on the play, East fired to Hurt at the plate in time for the third out.
The rout was on when Bryant scored six in the top of the third. Again, Kelly got things started with a single. Hastings’ ripped a double to drive him home and singles by Orender and Allen made it 7-0. East singled in a run and stole second, scoring on Shurtleff’s second double. Misenheimer cracked an RBI single to cap off the inning.
Benton’s final run came in the bottom of the third on a double and a single. Hurt threw a runner out trying to steal then, after a flyout Misenheimer, the Bryant starter, recorded his third strikeout to send it to the fourth.
Misenheimer would shut out Benton over the next two innings, pitching a round a pair of hits in the fourth and a single in the fifth.
Bryant tacked on two runs in the fourth to make it 13-3. Hastings and Orender opened the inning with singles and, after Orender stole second, Hastings scored on a groundout to third by Brown. East singled in Orender.
The Bryant Stars blew the game up in the fifth, scoring nine runs on just four hits as Benton ran out of pitching — though three different hurlers took the mound along the way. Walks to Shurtleff and Misenheimer set the stage for Kelly’s RBI single. Hastings delivered a run with a sacrifice fly. Orender’s fourth hit was followed by walks to Orender, Allen, Brown and East followed. Hurt was plunked by a pitch and Vargas came on as a courtesy runner.
With the bags juiced, Shurtleff provided the crowning block. His shot to left-center cleared the bases and he wound up with a triple. Misenheimer’s sacrifice fly set the final score.