Jake East of Bryant, Ark., Post 298, center, yells as teammate Seth Tucker heads toward home plate after hitting the third home run of Game 7 during The American Legion World Series on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017 in Shelby, N.C. Photo by Lucas Carter/The American Legion.

ALWS Game 7: Arkansas uses mix of small ball and long ball to defeat New Jersey

Power wasn’t a major part of Bryant (Ark.) Post 298’s game this season.

So the team was a bit surprised with the three solo home runs that proved to be the difference in a 7-4 win over Hopewell (N.J.) Post 339 in Game 7 Saturday at The American Legion World Series.

“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, try to drive it; if it goes over, it goes over.”

Game 7 looked like it would be a game of small-ball early on. Tucker’s sacrifice fly in the top of the first 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 when Cam Cane’s two-run single scored Will Karp and Sam Margulis in the bottom of the inning, putting the New Jersey team up 2-1.

A passed ball and sacrifice bunt in the top of the second put Bryant back up 3-2, and Wright led off the fourth with a solo home run to make it 4-2.

After Hopewell scored twice in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game, Logan Allen and Tucker each hit solo home runs in the fifth to make it 6-4. East scored in again in the seventh on a bunt by Dylan Hurt to close out the scoring.

“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.

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

Beaux Bonvillian picked up the win in relief of Alex Shurtleff; Bonvillian allowed just two hits and struckout three in 3.2 shutout innings.

Bryant will face North Carolina in the final game of pool play Sunday night, while Hopewell meets Idaho in Game 11 before that.

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