Photos by Rick Nation
A four-run fifth inning highlighted by Sarah Evans’ two-run triple broke open a close game and sparked the Bryant Lady Hornets to a 9-5 win over the Sylvan Hills Lady Bears in a pre-season game Thursday night.
The Lady Hornets held a 3-2 lead going into the inning. Regan Ryan and Shayla McKissock instigated the uprising with a pair of infield hits. A passed ball moved them up to second and third then Evans belted a 2-1 pitch to center to chase them both home.
Julie Ward’s RBI single made it 6-2. Courtesy runner Hennessae Shavers stol second then scored on a base hit to left by Macey Jaramillo.
Bryant scored two more runs in the home sixth then held off a Sylvan Hills rally in the top of the seventh to close out the victory.
Senior Kerrigan Allen pitched the first six innings, giving up two runs on three hits, fanning three and walking two.
Ryan, McKissock and Jaramillo each had two hits in the game. Evans walked three times, reaching base in each of her four plate appearances. Regan Keesee had two walks and a hit.
The Lady Hornets open the regular season at Sylvan Hills’ Tanner Roark Memorial Tournament March 4-5. They’ll begin the tourney with a game at 6 p.m. on Friday, against Maumelle.
The event also includes Beebe, Fort Smith Southside, Texas High from Texarkana, Lake Hamilton, Heber Springs, Forrest City, Bald Knob and the host team in a double-elimination format.
On Thursday, Sylvan Hills was led by Joy Fanco who had three hits and drove in three of her team’s runs. She hit a solo homer with one out in the fourth.
The Lady Bears took a 1-0 lead in the opening inning. A pair of walks and a single loaded the bases with two out, bringing up Fanco who singled to center to make it 1-0. Lynlee Broadway lined out to Evans at short to end the threat.
Evans drew a two-out walk in the bottom of the inning but was stranded. In the second, Jaramillo doubled to lead off the inning but was retired on a line-drive doubleplay.
Meanwhile, Allen and the Bryant defense retired seven in a row starting with the inning-ending lineout in the first. That extended to eight in a row with the first out of the top of the fourth before Fanco’s homer.
In the meantime, however, the Lady Hornets got on the board with three in the home third. Keesee walked and took second when Maddie Stephens’ sacrifice bunt drew an errant throw. A bunt single by Ryan loaded the bases. McKissock grounded into a force at second, which allowed Keesee to score, tying the game 1-1.
With Stephens at third, McKissock stole second then Evans walked to load the bases. A wild pitch allowed Stephens to score then Ward picked up an RBI with a groundout that got McKissock home to cap the inning.
Mallory Theel singled with one out in the bottom of the fourth but pinch-runner Callie Bradley was caught stealing. Keesee cracked a single to left but a strikeout ended the inning.
Allen worked around a two-out error in the top of the fifth setting the stage for Bryant’s breakout uprising.
Sylvan Hills whittled a run off the lead in the top of the sixth with the help of an error. But, with runners at first and second and no one out, Allen and the Lady Hornets’ defense retired the next three batters to limit the damage.
Bryant’s sixth began with a free passes for Keesee and Megan Chism. A passed ball moved them to second and third. Ryan got in a run with a grounder to third. McKissock bunted but Chism was thrown out at third.
After Evans walked, however,, Ward’s grounder to first was misplayed and McKissock scored to make it 9-3.
An error and fourth hits produced the final two runs for Sylvan Hills in the top of the seventh before reliever Shelby Stuckey ended it with a strikeout, stranding two runners.
The Lady Hornets’ junior varsity gets into action with a doubleheader at Beebe on Monday and two more at home against White Hall on Thursday, March 3.