Lady Hornets hand first league loss to NLR
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It’s hardly the way you expect to win against the North Little Rock Lady Cats and ace pitcher Jesseca Sheldon but the Bryant Lady Hornets will take it.
Kristen Morehart sprinted home and slid across home plate on a wild pitch by Sheldon in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Lady Hornets a thrilling 3-2 win on Wednesday, April 23. It was the first 7A-Central Conference loss for the Lady Wildcats and, going into the final two weeks of the season, gave Bryant and Conway a shot at capturing at least a share of a league title.
Conway, tied with Bryant for second with two losses in the conference, still has a game with North Little Rock.
Of course, the Lady Hornets still have some work cut out for themselves to stay in position. They were set to host Little Rock Central in a doubleheader on Tuesday, April 29, then celebrate Senior Night on Thursday, May 1, with a twinbill with a tough Mount St. Mary’s team, before closing the regular season at Pine Bluff on Tuesday, May 6.
“It ertainly makes things interesting for the conference standings,” Bryant head coach Lisa Dreher acknowledged. “The girls have really come together in the last week and played as a team. opefully, we are peaking at the right time. risten Dorsey and Kim Wilson really stepped up offensively against NLR.”
The 7A State Tournament begins May 9 at Russellville and the top two seeds from the league earn first-round byes.
“The Play” worked again for the Lady Hornets against North Little Rock and, no doubt, supplied a spark in the top of the eighth. With the international tiebreaker rule in effect, North Little Rock started the eighth with a baserunner at second. But the Lady Hornets worked a special, rarely utilized pick-off play and retired the baserunner. The Lady Cats thus were retired quietly after that.
In the bottom of the inning, Morehart, running for Wilson, was placed at second for Bryant. With two down, Brandi Barnes drew a walk with Sheldon unleashing a wild pitch that allowed Morehart to take third and she scored moments later to win it.
Both teams had scored in the first inning. North Little Rock took advantage of the only two walks that Bryant pitcher Christen Kirchner issued to get its run. In the bottom of the inning, Kristen Dorsey singled and Paige Turpin sacrificed her to second. An out later, Wilson came through with an RBI single.
North Little Rock regained the edge with a run in the fourth on a pair of singles and an error. That 2-1 advantage held until the bottom of the sixth when Wilson drilled a double, advanced to third on a groundout by Mo McDaniel and scored on a groundout by Barnes.
The Lady Hornets threatened to win it in the seventh, getting runners to first and third but Sheldon and the Lady Cats wriggled off the hook for the time being.
Kirchner finished with five strikeouts. She allowed six hits and no walks after the first inning.