LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. — When you’re playing some of the best teams in the country, chances are you’re going to run into a pitcher or two that are among the best.
That’s what happened to the Bryant 14-year-old All-Stars on Sunday at the Babe Ruth World Series. In the second game of pool play, Bryant ran into a tough hurler named Alec Dannat from Vancouver, Wash. Dannat took a no-hitter into the seventh before Bryant’s Chase Tucker cracked an 0-2 pitch for a single to left. An out later, Tristan Matthews singled to left as well.
But Dannat ended the game at that point with his fifth strikeout.
The 7-0 win was the Series opener for Vancouver, which had Saturday off. Bryant fell to 0-2 going into Tuesday’s contest with Arlington, Mass., which lost its opener on Saturday, 8-1, to Waite Park, Minn., but bounced back Monday to beat host Loudoun County, now 1-2.
On Monday, the Minnesota team improved to 3-0 by knocking off Vancouver. Bryant plays Waite Park to wrap up pool play on Wednesday.[more]
The top three teams from each of the five-team pools advance to the single-elimination championship round.
The Bryant 14’s include Wesley Akers, Harrison Dale, Justin Emmerling, Zach Graddy, Ashton Green, Tristan Matthews, Austin Miller, Christopher Phillips, Nate Rutherford, Korey Thompson, Chris Troillett, Chase Tucker and Blake Yates. Jason Thompson manages the team with assistance from Mark Akers.
On Sunday, Vancouver took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when James Becker beat out an infield hit then stole second and drew a wild throw that allowed him to take third. His teammate Jacob Lewis launched a sacrifice fly to center to get him home.
Bryant starter Wesley Akers gave up a single to center but then retired the next two batters to keep it 1-0. Those two outs started a stretch in which the right-hander retired six in a row going into the fourth inning.
Bryant got a pair of runners aboard against Dannat in the second. With one out, Graddy reached on an error and, with two down, Rutherford drew a walk. But, as he did in three innings, Dannat ended the threat with a strikeout.
That started a stretch in which the Washington hurler set down 12 in a row. In the meantime, Vancouver erupted for five runs in the fourth, taking advantage of three Bryant errors and a walk with four hits.
In the fifth, Akers issued a lead-off walk then gave way to Dale who hit a batter and gave up an infield hit. But with the bases loaded, a shallow fly was hauled in by Miller in left then Graddy picked off the runner at third. A grounder to short ended the inning with no further damage.
Bryant made a bid at a rally in the sixth when Dale reached base on a two-out error, ending Dannat’s string. Akers drew a walk but a grounder to short resulted in a force at second to end the inning.
Vancouver tacked on a run in the bottom of the sixth and the game went to the seventh with the only Dannat’s no-hit bid to decide.
(Photos courtesy of Brad Miller)