Kirchner, Lady Hornets blank Lady Mounties
EDITOR’S NOTE: Because the look back at each day in Bryant athletic history has been so favorably received during the time when there was no sports during the COVID-19 shutdown, BryantDaily.com will continue posting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on BryantDaily.com (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).
By ROB PATRICK
Bryant Lady Hornets softball coach Lisa Dreher acknowledges that junior Christen Kirchner could play at any position of the field as she showed the last two seasons. But this year, she’s the team’s prime pitcher.
“It’s not her preferred position,” Dreher noted. “But I appreciate her willingness to excel because our team needs her there right now.”
And excel she has. On Friday, Feb. 29, she tossed a three-hit shutout at the Rogers Lady Mountaineers, walking just one and striking out seven in Bryant’s 4-0 win at Lady Hornets Field.
“She has really been working on her pitching, concentrating on that, her strength and her mechanics,” Dreher said. “Being able to concentrate on it, she’s able to throw harder, like she really can. She’s hot right now.”
The Lady Hornets played errorless defense behind her and Rogers was only able to get more than one runner on base in just one inning, the seventh. That’s when Kaitlyn Kinney singled up the middle with one out then Dana Armstrong was hit by a pitch. But Kirchner slammed the door shut on the Lady Mounties’ comeback hopes by fanning the next two batters to end the game.
In turn, the Lady Hornets put the ball in play, striking out just four times, cranking out seven hit including five in a three-run second.
“I was proud of them swinging the bats,” Dreher commented. “Our line-up, I’m still not sure about. We’ve got a lot of girls on the bench that can help us. We make contact and our speed has improved a lot this year. We’ve been working on a lot of speed things and I think that’s going to help us down the road.”
The Lady Hornets swiped five bases in the game, two each by Kristin Dorsey and Kim Wilson and another by Paige Turpin.
Lindsey Cason, who just recently joined the team after basketball, got the Lady Hornets going in the second with a one-out double to deep left. Turpin followed with a slap-single up the middle.
After her steal, Morgan Seelinger got down a bunt and all Rogers could do with it was to grab it and hold Cason at third. Dorsey grounded into a force at the plate but Kirchner followed with a two-run single to center. Wilson’s base hit brought in Dorsey to make it 3-0.
That would be all the Lady Hornets would need but they tacked on an insurance run in the fifth when Kirchner beat out an infield hit, advanced to second on a throwing error as Brandi Barnes reached on a fielder’s choice. Sarah Hart’s single to center brought Kirchner around.
“Rogers, I had no idea what to expect,” Dreher mentioned. “But that’s kind of good for us. We’re going into a couple of tournaments and we’re going to see a lot of teams we don’t know much about.”
The Lady Hornets, who improved to 6-2, were set to host Lake Hamilton on Monday, March 3, then visit Benton on Thursday, March 6, before competing over the weekend at the Mount St. Mary’s Tournament.