March 23 in Bryant athletic history: 2018

Hornet pitchers out-duel college-bound opponents in Classic victories

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, will continue posting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).

File photo by Kevin Nagle

Junior Coby Greiner tossed a four-hit shutout after senior Scott Schmidt and junior Peyton Dillon combined to allow one run on six hits as they out-dueled a pair of college-bound pitchers in the Bryant Hornets two victories in the Central Arkansas Classic at BHS field on Thursday.

In the nightcap, Greiner shackled the Watson Chapel Wildcats in a 5-0 win, as Ole Miss-commit Kaleb Hill absorbed the loss. In a nooner with Vilonia, Schmidt and Dillon out-pitched the Eagles’ Cody Mitchell, a Harding University commitment. Bryant scored four in the fourth and five in the sixth to run away from the Eagles, 10-1.

The results improved the Hornets to 9-2-1 on the season going into Friday’s Classic battle with 7A-Central Conference rival Conway at Little Rock Christian High School, starting at 3 p.m.

Hill struck out eight and allowed a run on four hits but only lasted 3 2/3 innings as the Hornets grinded out at-bats, forcing the big lefty to throw 87 pitches.

“That’s a testament to these kids,” stated Bryant head coach Travis Queck. “They bought in to what our plan was. The second time through, we got a little more confidence. We kept swinging and hoping things would fall.”

Greiner held Chapel hitless through three innings, retiring 9 of 10 batters, then worked around singles by Jaylon Williams and Gabe Starks in the fourth. Randy Little had an infield hit in the fifth and Ja’Kobi Jackson added a two-out double in the sixth.

The Bryant side-winder struck out four without a walk though he did hit a pair of batters. His teammates helped with some solid defense including a doubleplay in the top of the seventh.

“Coby came in throwing strikes,” noted Queck. “He took advantage of some one-pitch at bats.

“I told these guys, ‘Look, we’re facing an arm like we’re going to have to beat somewhere down the line,’” he added. “Defensively, we’ve got to play perfect. We’ve got to make the routine plays. I’m not expecting anybody to go out and make spectacular plays. But do the routine and we’ll be in this game. And that’s what happened.”

Offensively, Logan Chambers had a big day with five hits over the two games. Against Watson Chapel, he was 3 for 4 with three runs scored. Schmidt and Brandon Hoover added a pair of hits apiece.

Greiner and Chambers had two hits each in the first game.

Against Chapel, the Hornets put the pressure on Hill and the Wildcats by scratching out a run in the bottom of the first when Chambers sliced a single to left, advanced on a wild pitch, stole third and scored on a two-out wild pitch on a 3-2 delivery to Matthew Sandidge.

In the second, Greiner drew a one-out walk and Hoover slapped a single to right. With two down, Chambers blasted a long drive to right that was flagged down short of the track by Williams.

In the third, having already forced Hill into a pair of 3-2 counts, the Hornets got a 10-pitch at-bat from Wright after Schmidt has blooped a single to right. Wright fouled off four 3-2 pitches before working a walk. Sandidge bounced into a force at second but stole second to put runners at second and third. But Hill wriggled off the hook with a pair of strikeouts.

In the fourth, the Hornets lost a pair of runners on the base paths after Greiner led off with a walk and Hoover lashed his second hit.

Merriweather, in running for Greiner, tried to score from third on a wild pitch only to have the ball ricochet off the low wall behind home right back to catcher Garrett Dennis who tagged out Merriweather.

With two down, after Little had relieved, Grayson Prince, running for Hoover, tried to advance on a pitch in the dirt but Dennis, the Chapel catcher, threw him out to end the inning.

Chambers doubled to start the fifth. Schmidt sacrificed him to third and Wright smacked a single to left to drive him home.

Still, the Hornets were clinging to a 2-0 lead. Greiner retired the first two in the top of the sixth then surrendered the double to Jackson. A strikeout followed, ending the threat.

Bryant got some breathing room in the bottom of the sixth. With one away, walks to Hoover and Buck set the stage. Chambers hit a deep drive to left that turned the Wildcats’ outfielder around. Hoover sprinted home and Buck stuck to second.

But Schmidt ripped a double over the third-base bag, getting Buck home. Chambers wound make it 5-0 when he scored on a wild pitch.

Greiner hit Gabe Starks to open the top of the seventh, but a grounder to Schmidt off the bat of Dennis started the lone doubleplay of the game. Little flew to center to end the game.

In the win over Vilonia, Schmidt had to work around a pair of one-out singles in the opening inning. He left Devin James stranded after his two-out double in the second.

In the third, he retired the first two with the help of a nice play by Ledbetter on a long fly to left. Zak Whitis followed with a solo homer down the line in left.

That tied the game. The Hornets had scratched first in the bottom of the second when Dillon walked, Ledbetter was hit by a pitch, Greiner sacrificed then a wild pitch got the run home.

The Eagles managed a two-out hit in the top of the fourth then the Hornets busted up the close game with a four-run uprising in the bottom of the frame.

Dillon had walked again then Ledbetter got a sacrifice bunt down that resulted in a wild throw to first by third baseman Josh Albat. Dillon scored on the play and Ledbetter sprinted all the way to third. Greiner shot a single to left-center to add a run.

Hoover bunted him to second and, with two down, Chambers gapped a two-out RBI double, making it 4-1. Schmidt singled him in and that was all for Mitchell.

Lefty Drew Killough relieved but walked two as the bases loaded. But Triston Milligan, the third pitcher of the inning, got out of the jam with a strikeout.

Vilonia threatened in the top of the sixth. With two down, Caden Raeburn reached when his pop to shallow center got into the sun for Sandidge who let it drop. Milligan singled and was held at first as Raeburn wrangled his way to third. An errant relay put runners at second and third. Reed Saddler made a bid to drive them home, but his liner was caught on the run by Ledbetter to end the inning.

Bryant’s game-busting sixth began with a single up the middle by Buck. Chambers sacrificed him to second then Schmidt’s bouncer to third was booted. With Buck at third, K.J. Merriweather, running for Schmidt, stole second. Wright walked to load the bases then Sandidge’s grounder to first resulted in a force at the plate.

With two down, Dillon slapped a humpback liner to right that cleared the bases. Moments later, Prince, running for Dillon, took second on a wild pitch then scored on a double to deep left by Ledbetter. Greiner’s single made it 10-1.

Dillon used 12 pitches to set down the Eagles in order in the top of the seventh, closing out the victory.

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