Bryant goes deep to even pool mark

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SCOREBOARD -

Only one home run had been hit in the en­tire Amer­i­can Le­gion tour­na­ment in the first two day, but Bryant hit three solo home runs Sat­ur­day that proved to be the dif­fer­ence in a 7-4 vic­tory over Hopewell, N.J., at the Amer­i­can Le­gion World Se­ries in Shelby, N.C.

“Jake Wright hits one and ev­ery­body’s in the dugout juiced,” sec­ond base­man Seth Tucker said. “It makes peo­ple think, ‘Maybe I can hit one to­day.

Wind’s blow­ing out, maybe I can get one.’ Just get a ball you can drive. If it goes over, it goes over.”

Tucker’s sac­ri­fice fly in the top of the first in­ning drove in

Jake East to give Bryant (44-8 over­all, 1-1 in ALWS pool play) a 1-0 lead. Hopewell (38-11, 0-2) an­swered with a two-run sin­gle from Cam Cane to take a 2-1 lead.

A passed ball and a sac­ri­fice bunt in the top of the sec­ond in­ning put Bryant up 3-2, set­ting the stage for Wright’s home run.

Af­ter Hopewell scored twice in the bot­tom of the fourth to tie the game at 4-4, Tucker and Lo­gan Allen hit home runs in the fifth to take a 6-4 lead. East scored again in the sev­enth on a bunt by Dy­lan Hurt to set the 7-4 fi­nal.

“We haven’t shown any of that power all year,” Bryant Man­ager Dar­ren Hurt said. “All of a sud­den, we’ve got guys that go up there and hit it out of the park.”

De­spite the power surge, Hurt said his team kept the same mind­set that has worked to this point.

“I think, sit­u­a­tion­ally, we stayed in a small-ball state of mind the whole game,” he said. “We thought that if we could just add [to the lead] ev­ery chance we got, but those guys get­ting us the runs with solo home runs was just huge.”

Beaux Bonvil­lian picked up the vic­tory in re­lief of Alex Shurtl­eff. Bonvil­lian al­lowed 3 hits and struck out 3 in 3 1/3 shutout in­nings. Dom Gam­bino took the loss for Hopewell af­ter al­low­ing 6 runs — 5 earned — on 5 hits with 2 walks and a strike­out over 5 in­nings.

Bryant will face Ran­dolph County, N.C., a 4-1 win­ner over Idaho on Sat­ur­day, in to­day’s fi­nal game of pool play that starts at 6:30 p.m. Cen­tral on ESPNU. Bryant needs a vic­tory and a Hopewell vic­tory over Lewis­ton, Idaho, to ad­vance to Mon­day’s World Se­ries semi­fi­nals.

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