Hornets play better, finish Texas trip by splitting last two contests

WACO, Texas — Coby Greiner and Scott Schmidt combined to scatter nine hits, allowing just one run as the Bryant Hornets broke through with a 4-1 win over the Stony Point, Texas, Tigers of Round Rock at the 2017 Bush’s Chicken Spring Classic at Midway High School Thursday.

The Hornets followed up with a battle against the Bryan, Texas, Vikings. They had a 4-3 lead but Bryan rallied for three runs in the bottom of the fourth and held on for a 6-4 victory.

“The guys did a good job,” said Hornets coach Travis Queck. “They came to the park prepared. In game one, they did what they had to do to win. Greiner did a great job. Defensively, we did a great job of walling up behind him. At the plate, it’s starting to work for them. They’re buying into the process.

“And that’s what it is, a process,” he asserted.

Against Stony Point, Greiner worked around a two-out single by Marcos Castillo and a hit batsman, getting Jaylen Williams to bounce out to Seth Tucker at short.

In the home first, Wright doubled but was stranded as Tigers pitcher Robert Jenkins fanned the next two and got Logan Chambers to fly to left.

In the second, Stony Point’s Mateo Carranza reached on an error but Wright threw him out trying to steal.

The Hornets took the lead in the home half. Greiner singled to right and courtesy runner Grayson Prince took second on a wild pitch. With one down, Schmidt singled to put runners at the corners for Konnor Clontz, who squeezed in the first run. And when Matthew Sandidge’s fly to left was misplayed, Schmidt scored to make it 2-0.

Dax Dathe singled to start the Tigers’ third. He stole second but was then picked off. Jenkins worked around a walk to Wright in the home half then neither team scored in the fourth.

Stony Point got its lone run in the fifth when Kamden Kelton led off with a double, took third on a passed ball and scored on a single by Jack Driskell. Dathe sacrificed Driskell to second with the top of the batting order coming up. But Greiner retired the next two batters to keep it 2-1.

The Hornets responded with two runs in the home half to up the advantage. Tucker walked and Coleman cracked a triple. Chambers delivered a sacrifice fly and the final score was on the board.

But not without some tense moments. In the top of the sixth, Castillo singled to right. He moved up to second on a grounder to third then Williams drew a walk to put two aboard with one out.

Queck called on Schmidt at that point and he got Carranza to pop to second and Kamden Kelton to pop to short to escape the threat.

Jenkins worked around a two-out double by Sandidge in the home sixth to set the stage for Schmidt to close it out. He retired the first two then gave up a single to center to Koby Kelton. But any hopes that might’ve kindled for the Tigers were dashed when Schmidt induced a fly to Coleman in right off the bat of pinch-hitter Brian Ashton.

“Schmidt came in and I was joking with him, ‘That’s the first — and, hopefully, not the last time, I ever write an ‘S’ for a save right next to your name,” Queck mentioned. “He did a great job of just throwing strikes.

“In game two, we faced a guy (right-hander Kolby Kobichek) that’s committed to Texas,” he noted. “But the guy couldn’t locate. We took advantage and when he threw it over the plate we gave it a ride. I think we had five or six hits against him. Then they brought in a guy that could locate. You know, it’s not how hard you throw it. It’s just putting the ball where you want it.

“He gave us some trouble at the end of the game,” the coach added.

Will McEntire started for the Hornets. The Vikings took advantage of the first of Bryant’s five errors in the game with three hits to grab a 3-0 lead with no one out. McEntire settled in and retired 10 in a row before issuing a pair of one-out walks in the bottom of the fourth.

In the meantime, the Hornets had rallied to take the lead. Kobichek worked around a one-out double by Greiner and a walk to Beaux Bonvillain in the second. In the third, however, a one-out walk to Wright opened the gates. Tucker lashed a double and Coleman walked before Chambers slapped a single to left and Greiner cracked his second hit of the game to make it 3-3.

In the fourth, Wright yanked a one-out single to left then Tucker and Coleman drew walks. Chambers picked up the RBI by grounding into a force at second and beating the relay to first. Greiner made a bid for his third hit but his liner was stabbed by the second baseman to end the uprising.

The walks in the bottom of the inning, coupled with three Bryant errors, led to three runs for the Vikings and a 6-4 advantage before Myers Buck relieved and got the final out of the inning.

He would retire the side in order in the fifth then work around another error and a walk in the sixth to keep it close.

But the Hornets were unable to break through against the Bryan reliever who retired the side in order in the fifth then pitched around a two-out single by Tucker in the sixth. Bonvillain singled with two down in the top of the seventh but was stranded.

“All the mistakes we made in game two were things we talked about afterwards, that we have control of,” Queck said. “Easily, that game could’ve been a 4-3 win for us.

“You can beat yourself up but we’re just trying to get these guys to learn from it and not take it to the next practice or next game,” he added. “Just learn from it. Don’t accept it. It’s never okay. But understand the process of learning from at bat to at bat or inning to inning. When you start winning those little battles, at the end of the game, you’re going to come out on top. Paying attention to details — that’s the stuff that young teams — maybe it’s a maturation deal.

“But they competed today,” the coach concluded. “They did a great job.”

The Hornets, now 2-4, will begin play in the 7A-Central Conference on Tuesday when they host the Fort Smith Northside Grizzlies.

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