By Rob Patrick
The Monticello Billies managed just three hits, all in the same inning, otherwise Bryant right-handers[more] Nate Rutherford and Tryce Schalchlin blanked them while the Hornets scored in all but one inning in a 10-1 win Monday night.
Eight of the nine Bryant starters had hits and six different players drove in runs in the victory that improved the Hornets to 20-4 on the season.
The game was a break from 7A/6A-Central Conference action for Bryant, which returns to their league slate this Thursday at home against Van Buren. With a win, they’ll travel to Russellville seeking a share of first place on Friday.
In five innings, Rutherford struck out four and walked three. Schalchlin relieved in the sixth and closed out the win by retiring all six batters he faced.
The Hornets gained the upper hand in the bottom of the first scoring four runs. Tyler Nelson beat out an infield hit to the hole at short to instigate the uprising. It was the first of his two hits in the game. Ozzie Hurt looped a single to center and Josh Pultro drew a walk to load the bases. Jordan Taylor followed with a bouncer to first that not only got Nelson home but wound up allowing Taylor to reach when it was misplayed by Monticello’s Troy Brunson.
That was the first of five errors by the Billies.
Dylan Cross singled to make it 2-0 then Monticello starter Cameron Smith walked Hayden Lessenberry to force in a third tally. Taylor came home moments later on a sacrifice fly by Hayden Daniel.
Rutherford, who fanned three of the first five batters he faced, worked around a two-out walk to Bo Rush in the second. Shortstop Trevor Ezell helped out with a sparkling play up the middle to retire Blake Shirey to end the inning.
Cole Connelley relieved for the Billies in the second and issued a walk to Tyler Green and a single to Nelson. Green stole second then third to get into position to score on Nelson’s hit. Nelson swiped second and, after Pultro singled him to third, he scored on Taylor’s fly to left. And when Shirey dropped the flyball, Taylor was on as well.
But Connelley kept the Hornets to those two runs, fanning Cross and getting Lessenberry on a fly to right to end the frame.
Tucker Ward’s single to right to open the Monticello third was his team’s first hit of the game. He advanced on a passed ball, took third on Nathan Pesaresi’s bouncer to second then scored on a single up the middle by Will Naron.
Naron, however, was thrown out trying to steal by Lessenberry and, though Connelley beat out an infield hit, Rutherford got out of the inning by inducing a grounder to Hurt at second by Smith.
Rutherford would work around a one-out error and a balk in the fourth. In the fifth, he walked Walker Jarrett but, again, Lessenberry threw him out trying to advance on a ball in the dirt. A walk to Pesaresi was erased when Naron grounded into a 6-4-3 doubleplay.
Bryant tacked on a run in the fourth against the third Monticello pitcher, Jordan Hashem. Hurt walked, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. When he saw that Hashem was late covering the plate on the play, Hurt headed home. Smith, who had moved to catcher after coming off the mound, recovered the ball and the Billies got Hurt caught in a hot box until Hashem overthrew his catcher allowing Hurt to score.
In the fifth, Daniel greeted Naron, the fourth Monticello pitcher, with a liner up the middle for a single. He stole second and scored on a knock to left by Ezell. With Green at the plate, Naron tried to pick Ezell off first but his wild throw got past Brusnon and Ezell hustled all the way to third. He scored on Green’s bad-hop single past the shortstop to make it 9-1.
After Schalchlin eased through the top of the sixth, the Hornets made a bid to make it a run-rule win when Cross walked and pinch-runner Austin Caldwell scored from there on a long double to right-center by Lessenberry with one out. Drew Tipton came on to run for the catcher but Naron retired the next two to give his teammates another at-bat in the top of the seventh.
But Schalchlin set the Billies down in order again, picking up his second strikeout along the way.
In the junior varsity game, Braden Jones and Wesley Akers combined on a two-hit shutout as the Hornets recorded a 2-0 win. Jones worked the first four innings, allowing just one hit and striking out three. After Bryant snapped a scoreless tie with two runs in the bottom of the fourth, Akers picked up a save by working around a hit in the top of the fifth, striking out the side.
Tipton led off the Hornets’ fourth with a double. Jason Hastings sacrificed him to third then Akers singled him home to snap the scoreless tie.
With two down and Blaine Knight in to run for Akers, Daniel Richards lined a single to left that brought Knight around to score.
BRYANT 10, MONTICELLO 1
Naron, cf-p3011Nelson, lf4221
Connelley, 2b-p3010Hurt, 2b3210
Smith, p-c3000Pultro, 1b2110
Brunson, 1b3000Taylor, 3b3102
Hashem, 3b-p3000Cross, dh3011
Collins, cr0000Caldwell, pr0100
Rush, ss2000Lessenberry, c3012
Shirey, c-lf3000Tipton, cr0000
Ward, lf-2b1110Daniel, rf2111
Jarrett, 3b0000Ezell, ss4111
Pesaresi, rf-cf1000Green, cf2111
Monticello0010000 — 1
BRYANT420121x — 10
E—Brunson, Shirey, Rush, Taylor, Hashem, Naron. DP—Bryant 1, Monticello 1. LOB—Monticello 3, Bryant 7. SB—Green 2, Nelson, Hurt, Daniel. SF—Daniel, Taylor.
Balk—Rutherford, Naron. WP—Rutherford 2, Hashem 2. PB—Lessenberry.