DUMAS — Though they played through the rain after the game had been interrupted by lightning, the[more] Bryant 12-and-under Major 60 All-Star team scrabbed and battled with the Monticello All-Stars for 10 innings in a tough and hotly contested elimination game at the Cal Ripkins South Arkansas State Tournament on Monday. Just a win away from a shot at the championship round and one of three bids to Regionals, the Bryant Stars fell, 5-4.
In a 3-3 tie, Monticello scratched out two in the top of the inning. Bryant rallied for a run in the home half and had the bases loaded when the final out was recorded.
Bryant thus finished fourth in the State. The Stars had opened the tournament with a 5-4 win over the West Helena All-Stars but then suffered a 7-3 setback to a Crossett team that has since advanced to the championship round unbeaten. In the losers bracket, Bryant outlasted Pine Bluff North, 13-12, before taking on Monticello.
The Bryant Blue League 12’s playing on the 46/60 field included Myers Buck, Konnor Clontz, Caleb Dorsey, Joe Green, Boston Heil, Sawyer Holt, Zak Kemp, Chandler Taylor, Ethan Thompson, Hunter Ulmer, Zach Wells. The team was managed by Keith Thompson with assistance from Jason Holt and Dalton Holt.
Monticello 5, Bryant 4
The game had been tied since the fifth inning. In the top of the 10th, a single and a walk started the inning for Monticello. It came down to the last out before two runs scored.
Bryant came up in the bottom of the inning and, with one out, Dorsey walked and Kemp and Thompson were each hit by pitches to load the bases. Heil came through with the tie-breaking single. But Monticello got the last out to escape with the narrow victory.
Bryant had taken a 2-0 lead in the first when Kemp blasted a home run to left-center after Buck had smacked a one-out single.
Heil started on the mound for Bryant and shut out Monticello for the first two innings. In the third Jackson Grant reached when his fly to the outfield was misplayed and Wil Brooks singled him in to make it 2-1.
Heil worked a 1-2-3 fourth but, in the fifth, singles by Grant and Brooks then a double by Ryan Lambert plated two runs to give Monticello the lead.
Bryant tied it in the bottom of the inning after managing just one baserunner over the previous three innings and having to clear the field for the lightning strike midway through their at bat in the fourth. With the rain falling, Ulmer walked and, with one out, Wells sacrificed him to second. Green then came through with a clutch RBI single to center to knot it up.
Bryant threatened to take the lead in the sixth when Kemp walked, Thompson reached on an error and Ulmer was hit by a pitch but, Brooks, on in relief of Ryan Bitley, the Monticello starter, worked out of the jam to keep it tied.
In the seventh, Green reached on an error and Buck walked. Dorsey’s grounder to third resulted in a force that retired Green and Kemp popped to short as Devon Burton relieved for Monticello. Burton proceeded to retire nine in a row as the game progessed to the 10th.
Meanwhile, Wells pitched a scoreless sixth then worked around a hit batsman and a single in the seventh and a two-out double in the eighth. Monticello was retired in order in the ninth. Thompson worked the tough-luck 10th.
Bryant 13, Pine Bluff North 12
After a wild first three innings, the two teams were tied 11-11. Bryant pushed two runs home in the top of the fifth then held on as Pine Bluff rallied for a run in the bottom of the sixth. The game ended in dramatic fashion when Kemp, the Bryant catcher, threw out the potential tying runner at third after an RBI double.
The winning uprising in the fifth started with a one-out single by Buck. Dorsey ripped a double then Kemp reached on an error and Thompson singled. A two-out walk to Clontz loaded the bases. Though the Stars couldn’t get any more, as it turned out, they had enough.
The early pyrotechnics commenced with Kemp blasting a three-run homer to dead center in the top of the first. Green and Buck had singled to start the inning.
Pine Bluff responded with six runs in the bottom of the inning, taking advantage of three opening walks with a pair of doubles and a triple.
So, trailing 6-3, Bryant whittled two runs off the margin in the top of the second. Ulmer was plunked by a pitch and Holt singled. Ulmer stole third before Wells walks to load the bases for Green, who delivered an RBI single. Though he was forced at second on a grounder to short by Buck, Holt scored.
Pine Bluff got those runs back in the bottom of the inning on a hit batsman and three hits.
Down 8-5, Bryant erupted for six to regain the lead in the top of the third. Kemp and Thompson were both struck by pitches and Heil singled in a run. Ulmer beat out a bunt single to load the bases then Holt beat out an infield hit for an RBI. With one out, Green belted a double to give his team a one-run lead. Green moved up on a groundout by Buck and, after Dorsey walked, the duo worked a double steal to make it 11-8. Kemp greeted a new pitcher with a double but he and Dorsey were stranded.
The back-and-forth battle continued with Pine Bluff rallying to tie in the bottom of the third.
Dorsey, who had taken over the mound duties in the third, shut down the Pine Bluff offense in the fourth and the fifth as Bryant regained the lead. He retired the first two in the bottom of the sixth but a single and a double produced a run before the dramatic final out.
Crossett 7, Bryant 3
Crossett built a 7-0 lead in the first two innings before Wells came on and shut them out the rest of the way. But Bryant was shackled from the outset. Green’s two-out single in the third was the Stars’ first hit.
They made a bid to score in the fourth when Dorsey was hit by a pitch and Kemp and Thompson singled but the next three batters were retired. In the fifth, Green singled again as did Buck. They tried to work a double steal but Green was thrown out at the plate. With Buck at second, Crossett induced a grounder to short by Dorsey to get out of the inning.
Bryant broke through in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Thompson walked and Heil singled. The duo worked a double steal and Hot singled in a run. Heil scored on a wild pitch and, after Holt stole his way to third, he came home on a single by Wells to make it 7-3 before the game concluded.
Bryant 5, West Helena 4
In the first of their series of drama-filled games, Bryant scored a run in the bottom of the sixth for a walk-off win over the Twin City All-Stars from Helena-West Helena. With one out in the inning, Green reached on a two-base error and, with a 2-0 count, Buck lashed a single to center to bring him around with the game-winner.
It was a seesaw battle. Through two innings, there was no score as Heil started for Bryant. After a pitching change to start the third, Twin City used a walk, a double and a two-out, two-run single to grab the lead.
In the bottom of the inning, Holt singled and Wells sacrificed him to second. He stole third then scored. Green and Buck drew walks but both were stranded as West Helena clung to a 2-1 lead.
After his struggled in the third, Buck struck out the side in the fourth and his teammates responded by rallying to take the lead in the bottom of the inning. Thompson drew a lead-off walk then Heil singled to left. With one out, Taylor drew a walk and so did Wells to force in a run. Green picked up an RBI with a groundout to put Bryant ahead and when Taylor scored, it was 4-2.
Back came West Helena, however, scoring two runs on three hits in the top of the fifth. With the potential lead run at second after a two-run double, Buck snared a liner back to the mound, fielded a tap back to the bump and got the final out on a pop to Green at second to keep it deadlocked.
Bryant made a bid to take the lead in the bottom of the inning. One-out singles by Kemp and Thompson produced the opportunity. Clontz walked to load the bases with two out but West Helena got Taylor to tap back to the mound resulting in an inning-ending force at third.
West Helena put together its own chance to snap the tie in the top of the sixth on a walk and a one-out single but Buck struck out the next two batters to escape, setting up his game-winning hit in the bottom of the inning.