Beebe holds on to hand Lady Hornets season’s first loss

For more photos of this event by Rick Nation, go here

In a seesaw battle, when it came down to the Bryant Lady Hornets’ turn to score in the bottom of the sixth then again in the home seventh, the big hit just did not come, and the Beebe Lady Badgers held on for a 5-3 win on a frigid Tuesday night at the Lady Hornets’ field.

It was the first loss for the Lady Hornets, now 1-1. Beebe improved to 4-0 on the season. The three runs the Lady Badgers gave up to Bryant were the most they’ve surrendered in a game this season.

The contest was the opening round of the Central Arkansas Shootout. Both teams are scheduled to play again on Thursday.

Against Beebe, both teams wound up with 10 hits. Meagan Chism, Regan Dillon and Gianni Hulett each had two for Bryant. Chism and Maddie Thompson belted solo home runs.

But Hannah Gammill and Lexy Lockhart each blasted a homer for Beebe. Holly Smith had a two-run triple.

The game was a scoreless duel between Hulett, for Bryant and Abby Burch for Beebe through two innings. Hulett retired the Lady Badgers in order in the top of the third and, in the home half, Maddie Thompson belted her solo homer.

In the top of the fourth, however, Beebe’s Lizzie Belew led off with a single to left and, after Hulett struck out Gammill, Lockhart got hold of an 0-2 pitch and cleared the centerfield fence to make it 2-1.

Chism’s blast opened the bottom of the fourth and tied the game up. Dillon singled and Hulett sacrificed courtesy runner Joely Calhoun to second. Bella Herring hit a foul fly down the right-field line that was caught, and Calhoun tagged up and went to third.

But a two-out pop up ended the threat, stranding Calhoun.

Hulett pitched around a two-out single in the top of the fifth and Bryant regained the lead in the home half. Alissa Suarez singled to center and Caitlin LaCerra got a sacrifice bunt down. An error at third allowed Suarez to score all the way from first and LaCerra wound up at third with no one out.

But, again, the Lady Hornets just couldn’t come up with the big hit to get her home. LaCerra tried to score when Thompson hit a grounder to first. But Joey Babel threw home in time for the first out of the inning.

Thompson then was thrown out trying to steal second. Aly Bowers lined a double to right field but, when she tried to stretch a double to a triple, she was thrown out at third to end a frustrating inning for the Lady Hornets.

And, on a 3-2 pitch leading off the sixth, Gammill unloaded for a tying homer. Consecutive singles by Lockhart and Babel, the latter on a bunt, set the table for Smith’s two-run triple that wound up being the difference.

Bryant tried to rally in the bottom of the sixth. Chism belted a double to left and, with one out, Hulett singled Chism to third. After Hulett stole second, a strikeout made it a two-out situation. Christine Mefford drew a pinch-hit walk to load the bases then Suarez lashed a liner that was caught by Belew at second to end the threat.

In the bottom of the seventh, LaCerra beat out a bunt single and stole second. But she got no further as Burch retired the next three batters to end the game.

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