Hornets edge Crestview, Fla. team, need win on Thursday to advance
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).
CRESTVIEW, Fla. — A two-out, two-strike single by Jordan Taylor in the top of the seventh inning snapped a 3-3 tie and when right-hander Dylan Cross retired the side in order in the bottom of the inning, the Bryant Hornets had defeated the Crestview, Fla., Bulldogs, 4-3, on Wednesday.
The Hornets, now 12-1 overall, improved to 1-1 in pool play at the Northwest Florida Powerade Classic. They’ll take on Shoals Christian of Florence, Ala., at Crestview Thursday at 1 p.m. With a win, they’ll advance to the Classic’s championship tournament on Friday.
Taylor’s clutch single came after Chris Joiner had opened the top of the seventh with a single. Hayden Daniel ran for him and was on the move as part of a hit-and-run when Hunter Mayall grounded out to third thus avoiding a doubleplay.
Brennan Bullock, who fouled off a pair of two-strike pitches, was hit by a pitch in the ear of his batting helmet then had the ball ricochet off his neck but he was able to continue in the game. Taylor followed with the hit that drove in Daniel.
Cross, who had relieved starter Caleb Milam in the fifth, closed out the win by inducing three consecutive grounders to Lucas Castleberry at third to end the game.
Milam had allowed just one run on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts over his 4 1/3 innings.
Crestview took a 1-0 lead in the second on a walk, a sacrifice and a two-out single.
Bryant tied it in the third. B.J. Ellis was hit by a pitch then so was Joiner. Garrett Bock got down a two-strike bunt for a sacrifice and Mayall drove in the run with a sacrifice fly.
The Hornets took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth. A one-out triple by Brady Butler gave them a chance but he was still there with two down when Caleb Garrett reached on an error that allowed Butler to score. Ellis was hit by a pitch for the second time but he and Garrett were stranded.
“They didn’t hit us on purpose,” insisted Bryant coach Kirk Bock. “They were just trying to keep the ball in on our hands. But they weren’t nicks. They were drilled.”
Milam gave up a single to start the Crestview fifth. An error followed. The right-hander foiled a sacrifice attempt and recorded a strikeout. But another single followed, loading the bases.
Cross entered in relief and, on his first pitch, induced a grounder to third. Castleberry threw to the plate for the force there and Ellis, the Hornets’ catcher, relayed to Butler at first for a doubleplay that got them out of the inning.
“Milam did a great job,” Bock said. “He spread out five hits there but he just got in a little jam right there and Cross came in and bailed him with one pitch.”
Bryant added to its lead in the top of the sixth. Taylor walked and Butler was hit by a two-strike delivery. Castleberry sacrificed them to second and third and Garrett picked up the RBI with a grounder to second.
In turn, however, Cross was greeted by four straight hits. A single and a double put runners at second and third then consecutive singles brought them home with the tying runs. With runners at first and second, the Hornets turned a 3-6-1 doubleplay with Cross covering first at the back end.
It was the Hornets’ third twin-killing of the game.
The lead runner made it to third on the play but, moments later, Cross picked him off to retire the side with the score tied.
“They’re pretty solid,” Bock said of the Bulldogs. “They’re not as good as Niceville (the nationally-ranked team that beat Bryant Tuesday), but they’re good.”