Photos by Rick Nation
SHERWOOD — The Bryant Lady Hornets suffered their first loss of the season in the second round of the annual Taylor Roark Memorial Softball Tournament, hosted by Sylvan Hills on Saturday. But they bounced back with a pair of shutout victories in the consolation bracket.
Bryant opened the tournament with an 11-0 win over Maumelle (go here). The Lady Hornets took on Lake Hamilton’s Lady Wolves to start Saturday’s play and absorbed a tough 3-2 loss. A 12-0 win over Heber Springs and a 6-0 win in three innings in a rematch with Maumelle closed out their day.
Bryant, now 4-1, is set to visit Sheridan on Monday then gets a rematch at home against Lake Hamilton on Friday.
“It was a very long day,” acknowledged Lady Hornets coach Lisa Dreher.
Dreher and the team welcomed the return of sophomore pitcher Raven Loveless who finished the basketball season for Bryant on Friday at the State Tournament. Loveless was the Bryant starter in the circle as a freshman last season.
“I was impressed with her control,” Dreher said. “She doesn’t get behind on many hitters. Her first inning against Lake Hamilton, she threw six pitches, striking the first girl out. I know she’ll just improve as her arm strength improves.”
Bryant grabbed a 2-0 lead over the Lady Wolves in the second inning and held that lead until Lake Hamilton struck for three runs in the bottom of the fifth to win it.
Loveless pitched the first two innings then Kerrigan Allen relieved and held Lake Hamilton until that fifth when a single and an error opened the gates on the game-winning uprising.
Regan Ryan and Sarah Evans each had two hits for the Lady Hornets in the contest. Shayla McKissock added a single.
Bryant loaded the bases in the first but couldn’t get a run home. Ryan and Evans singled and Julie Ward walked.
In the second, however, they dented the plate after Brooklyn Trammel was hit by a pitch and Maddie Stephens sacrificed pinch-runner Hennessae Shavers to second.
Ryan delivered an RBI single on a shot past short. An infield hit by McKissock sent Ryan to third. She scored from there on Evans’ shot to center for an RBI single.
McKissock, who had stolen second before Evans’ hit tried to score as well but was thrown out at the plate.
After that, however, the Lady Hornets were held without a hit. Macey Jaramillo, who walked with two out in the top of the third, was the lone base-runner.
Allen and the Bryant defense set down Lake Hamilton in order in the third then worked around a two-out single and a walk in the fourth to keep it 2-0.
In the win over Heber Springs, Evans belted a home run and drove in two runs. Ryan had three hits, McKissock and Ward two each in the fourth-inning contest.
Loveless allowed just two hits and a walk while fanning four in the game.
Bryant grabbed a 4-0 lead in the first, added a run in the second then blew the game up with seven in the third.
In the first, Ryan led off by slapping a single to left. McKissock lined a shot to right to drive her home then Evans unloaded with a shot to center.
The inning continued with Ward belting a double to left. Courtesy runner Callie Bradley took third on Trammel’s groundout then scored on a bouncer to third by Jaramillo to make it 4-0.
After a 1-2-3 top of the second for Heber Springs, Loveless reached second on an error. Shavers came on as a courtesy runner and raced to third on a sacrifice by Meagan Chism. She scored when Ryan lined a single to left.
Loveless pitched around a lead-off walk in the top of the third leading to Bryant’s breakout third.
Trammel reached on an error to get things started. Bradley came in to run but was still at first after two were retired. She stole second and Miranda Mayfield came on as a pinch-hitter, bouncing an RBI single to center.
Stephens came in to pinch-run and scored all the way from first when Chism cracked a double to center. Ryan’s double chased her in and it was 8-0.
McKissock dropped a bloop into left and reached second though Ryan had to hold up on the play and only got to third. Evans walked to load the bases for Ward, who came thorugh with a bases-clearing double to center, making it 11-0.
Ward advanced to third on an errant throw then scored on a passed ball to cap the outburst.
Heber Springs managed a two-out single in the top of the fourth but the runner was stranded when the next batter hit a comebacker to Loveless for the third out.
In the final win over Maumelle, Loveless faced 11 batters and retired every one over three innings, fanning two.
At the plate, Evans clubbed her second home run of the day and third of the season. She also ripped a two-run double. McKissock had two hits as well.
“Sarah is still on fire,” Dreher noted. “Two more home runs and the leading batting average.
I’m proud of the work that Brooklyn Trammel has put in to help us out in the lineup,” she added. “She’s become a good power hitter.
“Regan Ryan and Shayla hitting first and second cause confusion on defenses which is what we want,” the coach continued. “Most of the time, we have them on first and second or second and third, followed by Sarah and that seems to get our games off to the right start. Shayla is phenomenal from the left side and one of the best base runners I’ve seen. They’re both solid on D as well.
“Julie Ward did well behind the plate. She quietly took a lot of mishits back there and was hit by pitch twice. She’s the type that gets better in those situations.”
In the Bryant first, Ryan and McKissock each singled then moved to second and third on a wild pitch. Evans lashed a double to right and both scored.
Ward was hit by a pitch to keep the inning going. Trammel’s grounder to the right side moved runners to second and third. Loveless picked up an RBI with a grounder to second to make it 3-0.
In the second, Stephens drew a one-out walk and, with two down, McKissock yanked a double into right to chase her home before Evans unloaded on a 1-2 pitch and drilled her homer to right.