Hornets go for second State title today; Lady Hornets vie for third in a row Saturday

FAYETTEVILLE — The Bryant Hornets will play in their third consecutive Class 7A State baseball championship game today and[more] the Bryant Lady Hornets will play in their fourth State softball championship game on Saturday as a part of championship weekend on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville.

The Hornets, who won over Van Buren for the 2010 State title and lost to Conway at UCA in 2011, take on the Rogers Heritage War Eagles today at 2 p.m., at Baum Stadium.

The Lady Hornets, who have won back-to-back State crowns (over Bentonville and North Little Rock, respectively) after losing to North Little Rock in the 2009 finale, will face Bentonville on Saturday at 12:30 p.m., at Bogle Park.

Fans who can’t make the trip to Fayetteville can keep up with the games with inning-by-inning updates on BryantDaily.com.

Bryant reached the baseball finals by edging Fayetteville, 8-7, and dropping Bentonville, 9-0, at the State Tournament in North Little Rock. The Hornets are 24-7 and came into the post-season as the No. 2 seed from the Central conference.

Rogers Heritage, now 22-8, was the second seed from the West. The War Eagles got to the title round by edging Little Rock Catholic, 1-0, in eight innings then holding on for a 3-2 win over Conway in a game that was 1-0 going into the seventh inning.

The Lady Hornets enter Saturday’s championship game with a 33-0 record and a 36-game winning streak overall, dating back to last year’s 3-0 run through the State tourney.

This year, Bryant hosted the Class 7A State softball tournament and the Lady Hornets shutout Rogers 10-0 and blanked Springdale Har-Ber 7-0 to get to the final. A third championship in a row would be unprecedented since the sanctioning of fast-pitch among Arkansas high school teams in 1999.

Bentonville, the top seed from the West, advanced to the championship game by defeating Rogers Heritage, 15-5, then edging Conway, 10-9, in a dramatic semifinal game last Saturday. The Lady Tigers are 22-4.

Bryant pitcher Peyton Jenkins, who is also one of the team’s top hitters, was named the State tournament Most Valuable Player each of the last two seasons. Though she suffered a knee injury in the win over Har-Ber last Saturday, it is hoped that she will be available for the game. If Jenkins is unable to pitch, freshman Jordan Williams, who worked the final 4 1/3 innings of the shutout against Har-Ber will get the start.

Both Bryant head coaches have won State titles at other schools along with Bryant. Hornets head coach Kirk Bock won a title at Harrison in 2008 before coming to Bryant in 2009, while Lady Hornets head coach Debbie Clark led her team to a championship at Wynne in 2009 before arriving in Bryant in 2010.

Bock, however, will be ineligible to be in the dugout today as he serves the second game of an automatic suspension after he was ejected from a game for the second time this season, during the dramatic win over Fayetteville.

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