Hornets hammer Mustangs, improve to 7-1 on the season

For more photos from this event by Rick Nation, go here

Cade Drennan had three hits, Logan Chambers two and sophomore right-hander Will Hathcote fired 2 1/3 innings of one-hit shutout relief as the Bryant Hornets improved to 7-1 on the season with a 15-3 romp over the Central Arkansas Christian Mustangs on Monday night at Bryant High School Field.

The Hornets hammered out 10 hits to take advantage of an error and eight walks issued by CAC pitchers.

“Scouting these guys, I was kind of concerned,” said Hornets head coach Travis Queck, regarding the Mustangs. “They got Sylvan Hills and they got Jacksonville, two programs that have been very successful in the past. So, I didn’t know what to expect with these guys. 

“And I told our guys, I don’t know,” he continued. “But we came out ready to go, executed the short game, which was a pleasant sight because we’ve struggled there. That got us rolling a little bit. It was a good outing by our guys.”

Peyton Dillon got the start on the bump for the Hornets and worked around an infield hit and a walk in the first, stranding runners at the corners.

In the bottom of the inning, the Hornets picked up a half dozen and small ball played a role. Chambers got things started with a double to the gap in right center. Noah Davis got a bunt down that no one could get to, so he beat it out for a hit. With runners at the corners, Austin Ledbetter got a bunt down and first baseman Davis Gatling tried to get the out at the plate. But his throw was late, and Chambers scored.

With runners at first and second, Drennan burned the centerfielder with a lone drive that went for a two-run double.

Gage Stark came in to run for the Bryant catcher and stole third. He scored on a wild pitch as Jake Wright was waiting out a walk. Wright took off for second on a steal attempt and a late pick-off throw behind him was errant.

Logan Grant drew a free pass then Dillon helped his own cause with an RBI single up the middle.

Smith finally recorded the first out but, in the process, he balked Grant to third and courtesy runner Lawson Speer to second. 

On the first pitch to Coby Greiner, he got a squeeze bunt down and Grant scored to make it 6-0.

In the second, the first two Mustangs, Sam Pitre and Garrett Overstreet, drew walks. Dillon came back to strike out his mound counterpart, Levi Smith, then Caden McCluskey tapped back to the mound. Dillon threw to the plate and Drennan applied the tag for the second out as Overstreet took third.

With lead-off man Hugh Miller at the plate, McCluckey took off on a steal of second and drew an errant throw, which allowed Overstreet to score.

But Dillon retired Miller on a grounder to Davis at second, keeping it 6-1.

And the Hornets got that run back in the bottom of the inning. Ledbetter and Drennan singled and, after a wild pitch moved them up, Wright came through with a sacrifice fly to center.

Another walk, with one out in the third, came back to haunt Dillon. Eli Garrison followed with a single then Troy Flowers lashed a hit to right that loaded the bases.

Dillon struck out Pitre for the second out only to have Overstreet single to left to plate the lead runner Davis Gatling. And when the ball was misplayed in the outfield, Garrison scored to make it 7-3.

When Dillon plunked Smith with a pitch, Queck called in Hathcote who ended the uprising by getting McCluskey to ground into a force at second.

“Peyton wasn’t far off,” said Queck. “My mentality — and he knows it — if we get spotted six runs, we’ve got to get back in that dugout. We don’t need to walk the first two guys. Make them hit it. Make them earn it. We’ve just got to work through it, figure it out, make adjustments from pitch to pitch. He’s going to get that done.

“Hathcote did a good job coming in,” he added. “He threw well in Texas. He gave a good two innings right here.

“I wanted Dillon to go farther into the game,” the coach allowed. “That was my original plan. But I had no hesitation going to anybody in our dugout. These guys come to the yard ready to go and Hathcote’s one of them along with Braden Knight, Zion Collins and Slade Renfrow and others. But those guys were on the docket (to pitch) tonight and I could’ve gone to any one of them and they would’ve done great.”

Gatling relieved for CAC in the bottom of the third and the Hornets jumped on him for three runs. Walks to Logan Catton and Greiner set the stage for Chambers’ RBI single. Greiner hustled to third and, moments later, Chambers stole second. With one out, Ledbetter drove in a run with a grounder to short. Drennan followed with his third hit, a single to left, that made it 10-3.

Hathcote set down the top of the CAC order in the fourth and the Hornets capped off their scoring with five in the home half. Wright and Grant led off with singles and, with one out, walks to Catton and Greiner forced in a run.

Sidewinder Preston Shockley relieved but couldn’t find the plate. Walks to Chambers and Davis forced in runs.

Karson Richard became the fourth Mustangs pitcher. Ledbetter grounded into a force at second but, moments later, a wild pitch allowed Chambers to score from third, setting the final score.

Hathcote gave up an infield hit to Garrison to start the fifth. He moved to second when Flowers grounded out. With Pitre at the plate, Garrison tried to steal third and made it there by sliding around the tag. But he slid past the base and Catton, the third baseman, went after him. So, Garrison headed home only to be tagged out up the line by Drennan for the second out.

Pitre bounced out to Chambers at short to end the game.

The Hornets are scheduled to host White Hall on Thursday, weather permitting. They play at Sheridan on Friday.

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