March 11 in Bryant athletic history: 2011

Hornets continue to produce at the plate in run-rule win over Arkadelphia

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).

By Rob Patrick

Photos by Kevin Nagle

Bryant head baseball coach Kirk Bock and his old friend, Alan Gum who now coaches the UCA Bears, studied a little different approach to[more] hitting during the off-season and decided to implement it on their respective teams this season. It’s designed to produce more pop which Bock hopes will produce more line drives and more extra-base hits (if not homers, especially at expansive Bryant High School Field).

Ozzie Hurt makes a tag on a runner coming from first before throwing on to first to complete a doubleplay. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

So far, so good.

For the third time in as many games, the Hornets reached double figures in hits and runs scored on Thursday night as they dismissed the Arkadelphia Badgers in five innings, 14-4.

Senior Landon Pickett went 3-for-4 with five runs batted in while junior pitcher Dylan Cross helped his own cause with a 2-for-3 night with four RBIs. In all, seven different Hornets starters hit safely. The cause was aided by the fact that Bryant batters were hit by pitches seven times in the game. Tyler Nelson, Jordan Taylor and Josh Pultro were each plunked twice.

Hayden Daniel rounds second and heads for third. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

“I think we’re getting better every time we go out,” Bock said of his players’ adaptation to the adjusted approach. “The only things I was disappointed a little about was our bunting and that we had opportunities with the bases loaded where we needed just one hit to really bust it open and we didn’t get it done. But I thought their approach was good and they’re still learning. The more we see I think the better we’re going to get.”

On the mound, Cross picked up his second win of the season. In five innings, he walked three, hit one, fanned five and allowed five hits. The Hornets turned a pair of doubleplays behind him.

He struck out the side in the first inning and, in the bottom half, Bryant established the lead. Chris Joiner led off with a single up the middle but was forced at second on Tyler Brown’s bunt back to Arkadelphia pitcher Craig Daniell. After Nelson absorbed the first plunking, Pickett slapped a 2-2 pitch on a line to right to drive in the first run.

Jordan Taylor fields a grounder at third. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

In the top of the second, Daniell walked and Spencer Knight, his battery mate, was hit by a pitch. Courtesy runner Taylor Ochello reached third when Zach Randall bounced into a force at second but, moments later, Cross picked him off. That proved fortuitous when Cross’ next pitch was singled up the middle by Cole Weems. With runners at first and second, Cross fielded Michael Forthman’s one-hopper and threw him out to end the inning.

Bryant’s second began when Pultro was hit. Evan Jobe yanked a single to left and, with one out, Brown walked to load the bags. Nelson hit a grounder to second but when it was booted he reached safely as Pultro scored. With two away, Cross fouled off a 3-2 pitch then scorched one to the gap in left-center. The double cleared the bases, making it 5-0.

Tyler Brown takes a throw at first. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

The Badgers got on the board in the top of the third. Rhett Rogers beat out an infield hit then an error allowed Garrett Rucker to reach as Rogers took second. Branson Beard followed with a shot to the gap in left-center for a two-run double. He would score as well on a one-out single to right by Daniell.

Ozzie Hurt made a sparkling play on a slow roller to the right side to end the inning. He tagged Ochello then fired to first to complete the twin-killing.

Bryant responded with its biggest inning of the game. An error opened the floodgates as Lessenberry’s hot two-hopped to third was misplayed. Pultro blooped a single to right with Daniel, in to run for the catcher, racing to third. Pultro stole second then a wild pitch allowed Daniel to score.

After Joiner walked to put runners at the corners, Brown bunted up the third-base line. The ball got past Weems who was charging from third. He recovered and tried to get Pultro at the plate but his throw was too late.

Pitcher Dylan Cross. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Nelson was hit by a pitch again loading the bases for Pickett who belted the first pitch up the middle for a two-run single. Cross pulled an RBI single to left and, after Taylor was hit by a pitch to load them up again, Lessenberry picked up an RBI with a grounder to the right side.

With an 11-3 lead, Cross was greeted by Randall’s double to right in the top of the fourth. A grounder to second by Forthman allowed Randall to take third and he scored on a wild pitch as Rogers was waiting out a four-pitch walk.

But the right-hander came back to fan Rucker on three pitches to end the inning.

“He’s got to start off ahead,” said Bock of Cross. “It’s kind of his Achilles heel right now. He’s throwing a lot of pitches. When you get behind guys, you do that.

“One of the things we talked about after the game is that he’d have quality pitches just about every at-bat but then he might leave one over the middle,” the coach continued. “Or he would just lose a batter. Sometimes he’s not able to stay focused throughout a whole at-bat. Once he starts to realize it’s not about striking them out, it’s about making them put the ball in play within four pitches and let our defense play . . . if they have to hit Dylan’s pitches, Dylan’s pretty good. But if he muscles up and (his pitches) get flat, they’re hitting their pitches and that’s not very good.

“The reports I was getting back from Lessenberry were that he had a lot of movement and stuff on the ball,” Bock concluded. “He struggled with the breaking pitch early but, at the end, he started doing a good job getting it out front and getting on top of it.”

Cross issued another four-pitch walk with one out in the top of the fifth but the Hornets then finished off the win in style. Lane Jester hit a grounder up the middle that Nelson, ranging to his left from shortstop, flagged down with a dive behind the bag. He flipped the ball to Hurt who whirled and threw a strike to first for another eye-popping double play.

Before that, the Hornets tacked on the runs that made it a 10-run game. Joiner walked to open the home fourth then Brown’s sacrifice bunt drew a throw to first that was inside toward the oncoming baserunner. It got past Randall and, as a result, runners were at second and third for Pickett who completed his stellar evening with a single to left that chased them both home.

Marcus Wilson came on as a runner for Pickett and he would score the final run after Cross was hit by a pitch, Taylor walked and Lessenberry singled to deep short for the RBI.

Saturday at 1 p.m., the Hornets are scheduled to host the rival Benton Panthers. They’ll then open 7A/6A-Central Conference play against Little Rock Central on Tuesday, March 15. This year, all conference playing dates are league doubleheaders.


Arkadelphia ab r h bi Bryant ab r h bi

Rucker, ss 3 1 0 0 Joiner, lf 2 2 1 0

Beard, 2b 3 1 1 2 Brown, 1b 2 4 1 1

Wallace, rf-3b 2 0 0 0 Nelson, ss 2 2 0 1

Daniell, p 1 0 1 1 Pickett, dh 4 1 3 5

Ochello, cr 0 0 0 0 Wilson, pr 0 1 0 0

Jester, p 1 0 0 0 Cross, p 3 0 2 4

Knight, c 1 0 0 0 Daniel, cr 0 0 0 0

Randall, 1b 2 1 1 0 Wilson, cr 0 0 0 0

Weems, 3b 2 0 1 0 Taylor, 3b 1 0 0 0

Howell, rf 0 0 0 0 Lessenberry, c 4 0 1 2

Forthman, lf 2 0 0 0 Daniel, cr 0 1 0 0

Rogers, cf 1 1 1 0 Pultro, cf 2 2 1 0

Jobe, rf3110

Hurt, 2b0000

Totals 18 4 5 3 Totals 23 14 10 13

Arkadelphia 003 10 — 4

BRYANT 146 3x — 14

E—Beard, Taylor, Weems, Randall. DP—Bryant 2, Arkadelphia 1. LOB—Bryant 8, Arkadelphia 3. 2B—Cross, Beard, Randall. S—Brown. SB—Pultro.

Pitching ip r er h bb so


Daniell (L) 3 11 6 8 2 3

Jester 1 3 2 2 2 0


Cross (W, 2-0) 5 4 3 5 3 5

Balk—Daniell. HBP—Nelson 2, Pultro 2, Taylor 2 (by Daniell), Cross (by Jester), Knight (by Cross). WP—Cross, Daniell.


  1. rch3

    Good win. The Arkadelphia lefty had decent stuff, but the Bryant hitters had a great approach, and the coaching staff had the hitters sitting on every pitch called. Congrats on the start of the season. ch

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