PEARCY — After a demoralizing loss at Van Buren on Tuesday that was marred by eight errors, the Bryant Lady Hornets played errorless defense on Thursday night in a 5-0 win over the Lake Hamilton Lady Wolves in non-conference action.
Both the defensive effort and the victory helped the Lady Hornets gear up for the upcoming Class 7A State Tournament, which they will host starting Thursday, May 12.
Bryant has one final tune-up today at 5 p.m., when the seniors on the team will be honored at their last regular-season game at home. The Lady Hornets will play the rival Benton Lady Panthers in a game that was put together earlier this week.
A previous contest, set for Monday against Bauxite, has been cancelled due to the Lady Miners’ play in regionals.
At Lake Hamilton, where they were celebrating Senior Night with their two seniors Hannah Organ and Elle Henson, Bryant’s Raven Loveless and the Lady Wolves’ Charlye Rowland were engaged in a scoreless pitchers’ duel through four innings.
Lake Hamilton threatened to break through in the bottom of the fourth on singles by Rowland and Annalee Diehl but Loveless got Henson on a comebacker to keep it 0-0.
That would be the first in a string of nine straight that Loveless and her defense set down. The Bryant hurler would go on to complete a five-hit shutout, pitching around a pair of singles in the bottom of the seventh.
By then, the Lady Hornets had the final margin on the board. Brooklyn Trammell opened the top of the fifth with a single to center. Hennessae Shavers came on as a pinch-runner and promptly stole second. Shayla McKissock got a bunt down to move Shavers but an errant throw to first allowed Shavers to round third and score while McKissock went to second.
With one out, Julie Ward reached on an error and Loveless singled to load the bases but Rowland induced back-to-back pops to second to keep it 1-0.
In the sixth, however, Macey Jaramillo cracked the second of her three singles. Regan Keesee got a bunt down and beat it out for a hit. Trammell drew a walk and the bases were loaded.
Diehl, who relieved Rowland to start the inning, got the next three batters to hit grounders on the infield. All three went for fielder’s choices, getting forces at the plate on McKissock’s and Ward’s. In between, however, Meagan Chism’s grounder to third resulted in an errant throw to the plate, pulling catcher Paige Hoover off the plate. Keesee scored to make it 2-0.
With two down and the bags full, Loveless came through in the clutch. Her grounder up the middle went for a two-run single that doubled Bryant’s lead.
The Lady Hornets tacked on in the seventh. With one out, Jaramillo singled to right-center. Keesee slaped a 1-2 pitch and rolled it toward first, beating it out for a hit. Trammell followed with a grounder to the hole at short. Though it was knocked down by Henson, all hands were safe. The base hit for Trammell loaded the bases for McKissock who lashed an RBI single to left.
Chism and Ward each made bids for hits, cracking line drives. But both were snared for outs.
Loveless, who struck out eight in the game, fanned two in the bottom of the seventh around two-out singles by Henson and Hoover, preserving the shutout.
Along with Jaramillo’s 3-for-4 day, Keesee went 3 for 4. McKissock, Loveless and Trammell each had two hits. Chism and Ward each added a single along the way.