Tough pitching by Greiner, McEntire lift Bryant 11’s past St. James, La.

By Madison McEntire

GULFPORT, Miss. — Coby Greiner and Will McEntire combined to pitch a shutout as the Bryant 11-year-old[more] All-Star team opened bracket play in the 2012 Cal Ripken Southwest Regional Tournament on July 21 with a 3-0 win over St. James, La., despite being out-hit five to three.

Bryant team members 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 manager is Michael Catton and his assistant coaches are Phillip Dupree and Madison McEntire.

Bryant next takes on top-seeded Mountain Home at 10 a.m. on Monday. The winner will play in the championship game at 2:30.

Greiner, playing with a cut on his left heel from stepping on a seashell at the beach the previous afternoon, retired the leadoff batter with Lessenberry throwing to first after a swinging strike on a changeup in the dirt. The next batter singled on a 3-2 pitch to left-center but was picked off and caught stealing on a play that went from Lessenbery to Coppock to Shepard who applied the tag at second. Greiner then got the third out on a fly to left, which was the first putout recorded by a Bryant ourfielder in the tournament.

Catton led off with a four-pitch walk and was picked off first by the St. James left-hander and caught in a rundown but was able to get back to first safely due to a low throw that got away from the first baseman. On the next pitch, he stole second and then Dupree walked to put two on. Mullings ripped a liner to left but Catton had to hold up to see if it would be caught and was then thrown out at third by the left fielder. McEntire lined a single to left to load the bases and then, on an 0-2 pitch, Greiner hit a grounder to short that scored Dupree when the shortstop forced Mullings at second but was not able to turn the doubleplay. Webb grounded to second to end the inning but Bryant had a 1-0 lead.

St. James threatened in the second but came up empty. Greiner got a ground ball to second for a quick out. On an 0-2 pitch, the next batter grounded hard to Shepard’s right at second. He made a nice backhanded play and threw from his knees but his throw was just late. Greiner walked the next batter on four pitches but then got the second out on a pop fly to Catton at short. A grounder to short ended the inning and kept the score 1-0.

Bryant went in order in the second. Coppock popped to second, Bariola grounded to second and Shepard flied to left.

In the third, Greiner started the inning with a strikeout, again with Lessenberry firing to first to complete the play. He fanned the next batter before giving up a single that went just over the third base bag. Webb then hauled in a long flyball in right-center to end the inning.

Bryant upped its lead to 3-0 in the home half of the third. Lessenberry led off with a bunt and beat the catcher’s throw to first. The St. James pitcher attempted a pickoff and threw the ball past the bag, allowing Lessenberry to move to second. Catton then lined a single up the middle just past the shortstop’s glove to put runners on the corners. On the first pitch to Dupree, Catton left early on a designed play and the St. James pitcher committed a balk, which scored Lessenberry and put Catton on second. Dupree grounded out to short but Catton moved up on the throw. Mullings smacked a grounder through the left side for a hit to score Catton to make it 3-0. McEntire and Greiner then flew out to center and left, respectively, for the final two outs.

After 56 pitches, Greiner was replaced on the mound by McEntire to start the fourth. He got a grounder to first for an out but then walked a batter. Greiner fielded a grounder at short and flipped to Catton at second for a force but the relay to first was just late for an inning-ending double play. The next batter hit a long curving fly to right where Bariola battled the wind to make a nice catch for the third out.

Bryant went 1-2-3 in the fourth as Webb and Coppock struck out and Bariola grounded to the shortstop.

In the top of the fifth, McEntire left an 0-2 pitch over the plate and the St. James batter hit a long fly to right-center where Shepard dove for the ball only to have it go off the end of his glove. The next batter popped foul to Coppock at first and then a sacrifice bunt back to McEntire moved the runner to second. Another pop up to Coppock, this one fair, ended the inning.

Bryant threatened to blow the game open in the bottom of the fifth but left the bases loaded. Shepard opened the frame by grounding to third. Jackson hit for Lessenberry and walked. Singles by Catton and Dupree loaded the bases with one out but Mullings grounded to the third baseman who forced Jackson at the plate and then McEntire’s grounder to third forced Dupree at third to end the threat.

St. James went quietly in the bottom of the fifth. McEntire got a grounder back to the mound and then a ground ball to second for two quick outs. After a single to center by the next batter, Mullings hauled in a high fly to left to end the game.

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