Grand slam, solid hitting highlight Lady Hornets’ 11-1 win at Benton
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Photos by Kevin Nagle
BENTON – Jessie Taylor’s line-drive grand slam home run over the left-center field wall at Benton put an[more] exclamation point on the Bryant Lady Hornets’ 11-1 five-inning victory over the Lady Panthers on Monday afternoon.
Bryant banged out eight solid hits against two Lady Panther pitchers and defensively didn’t allow a run until the bottom of the fifth. Lady Hornet pitcher Peyton Jenkins scattered six hits and struck out four Lady Panthers in a complete game performance.
“I liked it,” Bryant coach Debbie Clark said of the season-opening win. “It was good. We were so anxious and our defense played really well.”
In the first inning, Cassidy Wilson was hit by a pitch and moved to second when Taylor reached on an error. Taylor’s courtesy runner Stephanie Cyz entered and moved over to second when Jenkins was safe on a fielder’s choice on a hit up the middle that was grabbed by the Lady Panthers’ shortstop who missed second trying to slide her foot across the bag and all three Lady Hornets were safe. Kayla Sory hit a hard shot back to the pitcher, who threw to the plate to get Wilson out, but both Cyz and Jenkins scored on a wild pitch for a 2-0 Bryant lead.
Jenkins gave up a hit to Benton’s Tiffani Pledger and was called for an illegal pitch to allow Pledger to reach second with one out. Pledger stole third when Brandi Barnes was batting, but Barnes was thrown out at first on a called third strike that was dropped. Taylor, Bryant’s catcher, picked up the ball and threw to Sory at first for the second out, then Sory fired back to Taylor, who tagged Pledger at the plate for the third out.
In the top of the second, Ashley Chaloner reached on an error by the Benton centerfielder and Carly Yazza was hit by a pitch. Both runners moved up a base on Hannah Rice’s sacrifice bunt, then Jenna Bruick slapped a hit off the pitcher’s glove and out-raced the throw to load the bases for Bryant. Wilson hit the ball back to the pitcher, who instead of going home with the throw, went to first and Chaloner scored easily for a 3-0 Lady Hornets lead.
With one out in the bottom of the second, Kara Franklin singled up the middle for Benton, but her courtesy runner, Karrie McCurry was gunned down at second on a throw from Taylor. Jenkins struck out the next batter to end the inning.
She led off with a double down the left field line to start the third inning and her courtesy runner Katie Stillman moved to third when Sory singled to left field. A base hit to right-center by Brooke Howell scored Stillman then Yazza tripled to the left-center gap with one out, scoring Sory, but on the play Howell was thrown out at the plate by inches. Still, the Lady Hornets held a 5-0 lead.
Neither team scored in the fourth inning, but Jenkins managed to get another strikeout and fielded a grounder for an out after Benton had the bases loaded with one down.
It all came together in the top of the fifth for the Lady Hornets with Howell leading off with a single up the middle. Jesseca Cudd singled to left field and Yazza got a base hit to left, as well, to load the bases. Rice drew a walk to bring in Howell and Benton replaced its starting pitcher.
With one out, Wilson was hit by a pitch to bring in Cudd and Taylor took the second pitch over the fence to clear the bases and put Bryant up 11-0.
Benton’s only run came in the bottom of the fifth when Laikin Davis singled and McCurry, running for her, scored on a single from Drew Melton.
“I was worried a little bit about Peyton pitching and leaping,” Clark said. “She got called a couple of times and we’re going to continue to work on that, but she really did well, came back and got refocused.
“The hitting … they don’t want to walk and they were so anxious,” she added. “We only had one strikeout the whole game. How great is that? My goal for them is to score every inning and we did that except for one. I was so impressed with the way we hit the ball. They are beasts and I love them.
Bryant – 2 1 2 0 6 – 11 9 0
Benton – 0 0 0 0 1 – 1 6 3
HR – Taylor, Bryant (Grandslam). Triple – Yazza, Bryant. WP – Jenkins, LP – Smith.”