Lady Hornets edge Benton, 5-4, in season debut
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The Bryant Lady Hornets came up big defensively in the top of the sixth, then rallied on offense in the bottom of the inning to extract a 5-4 win over the Benton Lady Panthers in the season-opening softball game for both teams on a chilly Friday, Feb. 16.
The Lady Hornets trailed 4-2 going into the sixth. The first two Benton batters in the inning walked then worked a doulble-steal to put runners at second and third. A squeeze bunt attempt then was foiled. The bunt went back to pitcher Tyler Cox who threw to the plate. Despite the fact that the throw was in the dirt, catcher Randie Juliusson dug it out and easily made the tag. And when she noticed the trail runner trying to take third, Juliusson gunned a throw there for a second out.
After a strikeout, the Lady Hornets came up in the bottom of the inning. Sarah Hart led off with a single. Hailey King came in to pinch-run and, after she swiped second, Allison Poteet’s bunt drew a wild throw to first. When it wound up in the right-field corner, King scored and Poteet raced all the way to third. Poteet scored to tie the game moments later on a bunt by Laci Rowland.
With the game tied, lead-off hitter Christen Kirchner ripped a triple. Juliusson followed with a sacrifice fly to left to put the Lady Hornets ahead.
Cox held Benton scoreless in the top of the seventh to close out the win.
“We hit well,” commented Lady Hornets coach Lisa Dreher. “But I’m more proud of how the girls executed defensively. This early in the year, you can expect more mental errors and things but I think that’s a part of having more experience out there this year.”
The Lady Hornets returned all but one player from last year’s State runner-up team.
Bryant scored their first two runs in the second when Cox led off with a triple to right-center and Ashley Herndon bunted her home. Poteet singled to right then stole second and scored on Rowland’s hard single up the middle.
Benton got on the board in the top of the third with the help of a walk and an error along with a base hit.
The Lady Hornets were scheduled to host Sheridan on Monday, Feb. 19, before taking a trip to Marshall, Texas for a tournament over the weekend.