Bryant goes deep to even pool mark
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.