Steve Bryant purchased the Cluster Springs ballpark in May of 2019 with a goal in mind of bringing tournaments back to the area.

That goal was met when the NC GameOn Sports Fireworks Classic came to Cluster Springs over the weekend.

“It means a lot to see baseball come back to a dominant baseball county like Halifax,” Bryant said after the tournament concluded Sunday evening. “This is where it needs to be, and baseball has been in the Cluster Springs community for a long time now, and it is good to get it back.”

In fact, Bryant’s travel baseball team that he coaches — the Spartans — finished as runners up in their division. The Spartans are an 11U team, but competed in the tournament against 12U teams. The four-team bracket placed the Spartans as the fourth seed heading into Saturday’s championship bracket after losing their two games on Saturday.

The Southside Panthers, another travel baseball team with many players from Halifax County, were the top seed in the 12U D3 division and played host to the Spartans on Sunday in the championship bracket. The fourth-seed Spartans pulled the upset by defeating the Panthers 13-6.

In the other championship bracket game, the two-seed Western Tidewater Rage defeated the three-seed HYAA Hawks to set up the championship game between the Rage and the Spartans.

The younger Spartans lost the championship game by a score of 16-3 to the Rage. It was a long weekend for all teams involved in the tournament, and the heat and long days seemingly caught up to the teams as the tournament came to a close.

In the 12U Open bracket, the Carolina Titans defeated the West Raleigh 12U Blue 11-7 to claim the championship in that division. The East Coast Clippers defeated Halifax’s Virginia Squires Navy 9-7 in the first game of the day in the championship bracket, eliminating the hometown Squires from contention.

When the dust had settled and it was time to reflect, Bryant was happy with the way the tournament went and with the results from his own team.

In May of 2019 Bryant closed on the property at the Cluster Springs ballpark and was met with a complex that had been without baseball for several years.

“The grass was up to my hip, and the fences were covered in vines,” Bryant said.

He began work on the fields and meticulously groomed the park to where it is today. Bryant has known NC GameOn Sports for a while now as his son, Griff, has played on travel teams in that organization and now plays for his dad on the Spartans.

Bryant started talking to GameOn more once he purchased the property at Cluster Springs with the goal of bringing baseball back to the fields.

It took Bryant close to three months of work to get the fields in the shape they were over the weekend and with another tournament coming to Halifax this weekend, there is hope that this can become a regular occurrence at the Cluster Springs ballpark.

Johnathan Kirland is a sports writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him jkirkland@gazettevirginian.com. Follow him on Twitter @JohnathanK_GV