From Meagan Chism’s three-run homer off the top of the fence in left to Regan Ryan’s two-foot swinging bunt-and-sprint and everything in between, the Bryant Lady Hornets amassed 23 runs on 30 hits as they swept a doubleheader over the Russellville Lady Cyclones, 8-0 and 15-9, in 7A/6A-Central Conference play on Tuesday night.
Ryan went 7 for 9 on the night, Chism was 4 for 7 with five runs batted in and, in game two, Macey Jaramillo came a homer short of hitting for the cycle, finishing with two doubles, a triple and a single.
Raven Loveless pitched a three-hit shutout in the first game but the Lady Cyclones had better luck in game two, building a 6-2 lead over the first three innings before Anna Turpin came on in relief to get out of a five-run third then holding them to three unearned runs the rest of the way while her teammates broke out for nine runs in the fifth to gain the upper hand. The Lady Hornets added two insurance runs in each the fifth and sixth to secure the win.
Now 16-10 overall, the Lady Hornets are set for three vital contests with fellow Class 7A members of the 7A/6A-Central Conference. Currently 3-0 against those teams, the Lady Hornets are vying for the league’s top seed for the State tournament and the first-round bye that goes with it.
At Conway on Thursday, they’ll play two of those games, facing Conway at 5 p.m., and playing Mount St. Mary Academy at 6:30. On Tuesday, May 3, the Lady Hornets travel to Van Buren to play a Pointerettes team that is 3-1 in league 7A games.
A road doubleheader scheduled against Class 6A conference rival Siloam Springs on Saturday has been canceled in anticipation of the storms forecast for the state this weekend. It will most likely not be rescheduled since State tournament play begins on May 12. Bryant will be hosting the Class 7A tourney.
Bryant 8, Russellville 0
Loveless and the Lady Hornets retired the first nine Russellville batters and, in the second, grabbed a 3-0 lead. Chism reached on an error and, with one out, Maddie Stephens beat out an infield single off the third baseman’s glove. When the Lady Cylcones’ shortstop booted the ricochet, Chism wound up at third and Stephens at second.
A walk to Regan Keesee loaded the bases but they remained that way with two out. But Ryan came through with a single to left that was misplayed, clearing the bases.
Russellville’s Victoria Teague singled to lead off the fourth inning for her team’s first hit. With one out, Kaitlyn Harrison drew a walk but Hannah Rickman hit a soft liner to Shayla McKissock at short. A throw to first caught Harrison wandering, resulting in an inning-ending doubleplay.
Loveless worked around a lead-off single in the fifth and, in the bottom of the inning, the Lady Hornets tacked on a run. Chism singled, took second on Loveless roller to the pitcher then third on a single by Stephens. Though Chism was thrown out at the plate on a bouncer to third off Keesee’s bat, Stephens snuck home when Keesee got caught in a rundown between first and second.
Loveless, who finished with eight strikeouts, fanned two on either side of an infield hit by Teague in the top of the sixth then Sarah Evans robbed Sierra Porter of a hit with a dive stop at second to end the inning.
The Lady Hornets then put the game on ice with a four-run home sixth, sparked by Ryan’s third hit of the game. McKissock reached on an error — the fifth miscue of the game for the Lady Cyclones. A walk to Julie Ward loaded the bases for Evans who drew a free pass to force in a run.
Chism came through with a sacrifice fly to make it 6-0 then Loveless pounded a single to left to plate the last two tallies.
In the seventh, Meredith Duffeld worked a one-out walk but when Alyssa Sparks slapped a single to right, Jaramillo charged in, fielded the ball and threw out courtesy runner Emily Hipps at second. Taylor Kilgore lined to Mallory Theel at first to end the game.
Bryant 15, Russellville 9
The Lady Hornets had 21 hits including four each from Ryan and Jaramillo and three each by McKissock, Ward and Chism. Evans and Stephens added two hits each with Evans driving in three runs.
Harrison put Russellville ahead in the top of the first with an RBI double. In the home half, McKissock singled, stole second and took third on an errant throw. With two down, Evans yanked an RBI single to left to tie it.
Loveless pitched around a lead-off double by Sparks in the second and the Lady Hornets grabbed a lead when Keesee worked a two-out walk and Jaramillo burned the left-fielder with a drive that went for her triple.
Ryan followed with a roller to third, beating the throw to first for a hit. But Jaramillo had to hold initially at third. She headed home as the throw to first was made. On a relay to the plate, it was ruled that the tag was made in time, keeping it 2-1.
Russellville answered with its five-run third that was aided by a pair of Bryant errors. Rachel Russell and Porter each had RBI singles and Kilgore picked up an RBI on a fielder’s choice in which, again, the Lady Hornets’ outfield got an assist. This time, it was Ryan who charged a soft liner to center, fielded it on a hop and fired to Evans at second for a force on Sparks who had walked moments before.
Turpin, after surrendering a pair of hits and a walk, settled in and struck out Christa Poirier and Teague to end the outburst.
After the Lady Hornets were retired in the bottom of the third, Turpin pitched around a two-out walk in the top of the fourth.
The Lady Hornets’ big inning started with Stephens’ sharp single to center. She stole second then scored when Keesee’s grounder to second was misplayed. Consecutive singles by Jaramillo, Ryan, McKissock, Ward and Evans followed. Ward drove in two to tie the game then Evans put the Lady Hornets ahead.
That’s when Chism belted her three-run bomb, a towering drive that actually hit the top of the fence above the home-run yellow line and bounced over.
But it wasn’t the last of the scoring in the inning. With one out, Stephens slapped her second hit of the inning, stole her second base of the frame and, with two down, sprinted home on the first of Jaramillo’s two doubles, making it 11-6.
Two more Bryant miscues helped Russellville rally for three in the top of the fifth. Rickman had a pinch-hit RBI single to cap the inning bringing up the potential tying run in Harrison. But she popped to Chism at third to end the inning.
In the home half, Bryant tacked on. Ward drilled a double to right-center, took third on a wild pitch and, after Evans walked, scored on Chism’s third hit, a bloop single to right.
Turpin got Evans home on a grounder to second, making it 13-9.
The Lady Cyclones were then retired 1-2-3 in the sixth as Turpin induced three popups.
Jaramillo, needing a homer for the cycle, didn’t get enough air under her line drive to left-center, settling for her second double. Ryan singled her in.
Though Ryan was ruled out for leaving first too soon, McKissock beat out a grounder to third, reached third on Ward’s second double and scored when Evans bounced out to second.
Once again in the seventh, the Lady Cyclones were retired in order with Turpin ending the run-fest with a pair of strikeouts.