Hunter's Elite played in the semi-finals of the Senior Babe Ruth State Tournament on Monday, defeating Hope in the first round 4-0 behind Brandon Little and Tyler Greer's combined no-hitter.
In the first inning, Little was walked and eventually scored on a pass ball to give the Elite a 1-0 lead.
Austin Lawrence hit an RBI triple to knot the game at 1-1, and Lawrence scored after a few pitches on a pass ball to give Hope a 2-1 advantage.
In the third inning, the Elite would bounce back to take the lead 3-2 after Blake Hence hit a two-run homer over the right field fence.
However, Hope would bounce back to tie the game 3-3. In the bottom of the third inning, Dale Drake came to the plate with the bases loaded to hit an RBI single.
Jaylon Deshazier led off the fourth inning with a single, and Bernard Black followed with a sacrifice bunt. Rod Stinson Jr. drove Deshazier in on a single to take a 4-3 lead. The Elite would add to their lead after Keith Boyd reached base on an error; he later scored on a pass ball in the fifth inning. Deshazier and Black hit back-to-back singles, and Stinson grounded out but drove in a run while doing so, putting Hunter's Elite in the driver's seat with 6-3 lead.
Little was relieved by Stinson after pitching four and two-thirds innings while striking out six. In the bottom of the sixth, Hope scored three runs off of three RBI's from Josh Winfield, Dawson Henry and Dalton Smead to tie the game 6-6. Andrew Morgan led off the top of the last inning with a single to left field before Christopher Mack Jr. replaced him to pinch run. Boyd advanced Mack to second from a sacrifice bunt, and Little followed with a double to drive Mack Jr. in for a 7-6 lead.
Braelin Hence hit a double of his own to score Little from second and make the score 8-6. In the bottom of the last inning, Stinson induced a couple of ground outs to become one out away from closing the game. Unfortunately, Hope got two hits, putting the tying run on base. Josh Winfield was intentionally walked to bring up Dawson Henry. Henry flew out to Black in center field to end the game.
Deshazier led the game for three for three with three singles, and Stinson had two RBI's.
Hunter's Elite falls in championship round to Pulpwood 2-0
Hunter's Elite faced Camden's Arkansas Pulpwood in the championship on Monday night after defeating Hope. The two teams met in last year's state championship, and Hunter's Elite came out with a 2-0 victory off of Jakobi Jackon's two RBI single.
The Elite jumped out ahead first with two back-to-back singles from Deshazier and Gionti Turner. Stinson followed with an RBI ground out to score.
In the fourth inning, Deshazier hit another single, and Turner hit a triple to drive him in to score. Stinson hit an RBI single to score Turner and give the Elite a 3-0 lead heading into the fifth.
Stinson started on the mound and pitched four innings for the Elite, allowing only three hits while striking out seven batters.
Turner replaced Stinson in the top of the fifth and walked two batters before being replaced by Christopher Mack Jr. With another walk to load the bases, Mack walked yet another batter to allow a run.
Camden's Jordan Reed later hit a single to drive in for two runs to tie the game up 3-3. Jamison Miller hit a sacrifice fly to right field to give Arkansas Pulpwood the lead 4-3. After a sacrifice bunt RBI and a pass ball score to give Camden a 6-3 lead, Mack was replaced by Boyd.
Boyd walked a couple of batters and allowed an RBI single before being replaced by Blake Hence. Hence struck out a batter to end the seven-run inning and allowed no hits. In the bottom of the fifth, Little was walked and later scored on an over thrown pick-off to cut the lead 7-4. However, Camden's Tim Crumpler hit a double in the top of the sixth inning and later scored on a pass ball to push the lead 8-4.
Hunter's Elite were down to their last at bat to keep their championship streak alive. Little and Braelin Hence were both walked, and Blake Hence hit a single to load the bases with only one out. Turner, Deshazier and Boyd were all retired to end the game, along with the Elite's consecutive state championships at three.
Blake Hence finished the day on the mound, allowing only two hits while striking out four.
Turner led at the plate with three hits and an RBI. Deshazier had two hits; Stinson had two RBI's.
Hunter's Elite plans to keep their season going as they host the Dixie Majors State Tournament at Taylor Memorial Field starting July 8. The Elite are seeking their first Dixie state championship since 2014.