Three outs away from a victory in the winners bracket final of the 2018 Little League State Tournament at Bishop Park on Saturday, the Bryant All-Stars gave up three runs in the top of the sixth to the White Hall All-Stars.
Down to their last three outs, Bryant put a pair of runners aboard — the potential tying runs — when Hudson Thomason drew a one-out walk and, with two down, Reid Catton was hit by a pitch. But White Hall ended the game with a strikeout to advance to the championship round on Monday.
Bryant will have a rematch with Cabot on Sunday afternoon at 3 in an elimination game with the hope of challenging White Hall for the championship. Cabot ousted Bismarck, 7-3, on Saturday night.
The Bryant team, managed by Michael Catton, includes JT Allen, Garrison Blacklaw, Reid Catton, Clay Crawford, Avery Heidelberg, Luis Hernandez, Gavin Hill, Landon Jackson, EJ Keith, Justen Myles, Braxton Speer, Aiden Stoutand Hudson Thomason
For much of the game, Blacklaw and Whit;e Hall’s Jackson Henderson were locked in a pitching duel.
Bryant had taken a 1-0 lead in the first when Catton lashed a triple to right-center and scored on Blacklaw’s sacrifice fly to right.
White Hall tied it in the second on a double by Canon Cope and a single by Jimari Douglas. Maddox Johnston singled but Blacklaw struck out the next two batters to end the threat.
It stayed deadlocked until the top of the fifth when an error opened the door a crack for White Hall. Jace Johnson singled to center then Noah Smith, the lead runner, stole third. Thomason’s throw went to third, but third baseman Braxton Speer came up to get the ball on the throw and fired to first to retire Johnson, who had wandered off the bag.
Henderson grounded to second and, despite the fact that Crawford looked the runner back, upon his throw to first, Johnson took off for the plate and just got in under the tag after E.J. Keith’s relay home.
Christian Carnall singled but was stranded when Blacklaw escaped by inducing a grounder to Speer at third.
But Bryant’s Stars gained the upper hand in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, Henderson had reached his pitch limit and Cope relieved. He walked Allen and Catton. Allen had moved to third on a passed ball.
Johnson relieved Cope and Blacklaw greeted him with a base hit that got Catton to third. Catton was out trying to score on Speer’s topper back to the mound.
The inning continued, however, as Crawford was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Jackson drew a walk that forced in the go-ahead run.
White Hall’s game-breaking burst began with a third-strike wild pitch that allowed Cope to reach safely. Douglas singled then another hit tied the game.
Speer, on in relief of Blacklaw retired the next two before Johnson drilled a double to left-center, giving White Hall the winning margin.