BENTON — The Bryant 14-year-old All-Stars will play for the 2013 State championship on Tuesday[more] night at 6 against an opponent to be determined after Monday’s 8-0 win over the Pine Bluff All-Stars.
The shutout by Dylan Hurt, who scattered seven hits over seven innings, was the third in a row by Bryant pitchers. In fact, the Bryant hasn’t allowed a run since the first inning of their opening game at the tourney — that’s now 21 consecutive scoreless innings.
Hurt fanned five and walked no one. Pine Bluff only had one base-runner reach third base.
The Bryant 14-and-under team is managed by Jerry East. The players are Logan Allen, Drew Brown, Cameron Coleman, Jake East, Lawson Fincher, Jeffrey Hastings, Dylan Hurt, Austin Kelly, Hayden Knowles, Preston Kyzer, Garrett Misenheimer, Aaron Orender, Kyle Sahr, Alex Shurtleff and Diego Vargas.
The champion of the State tourney advances to the Babe Ruth Regional for 14-year-old teams, which will be held at Levelland, Texas, starting July 26. Bryant would have to be defeated twice on Tuesday to be denied.
Over the first three innings, Hurt’s pitching was crucial as Bryant only managed a run in the top of the second. But a five-run fourth broke the game open and the Stars added on with single tallies in each of the last three frames.
Coleman, who went 4 for 4 in the game, opened the second with a single to right. East’s two-out double sent him to third and a wild pitch allowed him to score.
Meanwhile, Hurt worked around a two-out double in the first, retired the side in order in the second and pitched around a lead-off single in the third to keep it 1-0.
The fourth-inning explosion commenced with a walk to Kelly. Coleman chased him home with a shot to the fence in right-center for a triple. Allen squeezed him home to make it 3-0.
With two down, East got the offense going again with a bloop down the right-field line for a double. Orender traded places with him, ripping a two-bagger to left-center.
Shurtleff was hit by a pitch then the duo worked a double steal before Misenheimer ripped another drive to right-center for a two-run triple, capping off the inning.
Hurt surrendered another single to start the bottom of the fourth but he got the first out on a force at second, struck out a batter and induced another fielder’s choice to send it to the fifth.
As he had the previous inning, Kelly opened the fifth with a free pass. He took second on passed ball and scored when Coleman cracked his third hit, a single to right.
The Bryant defense erased a one-out single in the bottom of the fifth, turning a doubleplay, started by Hurt, with East making the pivot at second.
Bryant’s sixth-inning run was scored by Hurt, who lashed a one-out triple down the left-field line. With Vargas in to run for the pitcher, Kelly singled to make it 7-0.
Pine Bluff put together its most serious threat in the home sixth. An error opened the inning. After Hurt struck out the next batters, an infield hit put runners at first and second. A bloop singled loaded the bases but Hurt picked off a runner then ended it by inducing a grounder that resulted in a force at second.
Bryant’s final run was scored by Orender who drew a one-out walk in the top of the seventh. He sprinted home from first when Brown found the gap in left-center for an RBI double.
Hurt set down the first two in the bottom of the inning, surrendered a bloop single then ended it with a bouncer to second.