Lady Hornets absorb first loss but bounce back with extra-inning victory

File photo by Rick Nation

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — After winning their first 11 games of the 2018 season, the Bryant Lady Hornets absorbed their first loss on Friday, but they bounced back with a 6-4 win as they continued play in the South Warrior Classic at the Starplex fields.

Their streak was stopped Friday morning by the Siegel Lady Stars of Murfreesboro, 3-0. At noon, they outlasted the Ardmore, Ala., Lady Tigers, 6-4.

In junior varsity action, Bryant stopped Mainland Regional of Linwood, N.J., 6-0, then popped the Smyrna, Tenn., JV team, 9-3, with Lexi Helton picking up the win as the pitcher and contributing a home run.

The Lady Hornets, now 12-1, wrap up the Classic and head home Saturday. They’ll play three varsity games. At 8 a.m., they take on Florence, Ala. At 10 a.m., they’ll play Lexington, Tenn., before closing out against Smyrna at 2.

Siegel 3, Bryant 0

Siegel stopped the Lady Hornets behind the shutout pitching of sophomore Sophie Golliver, who limited the Lady Hornets to six singles including two more by record-setting Regan Ryan. She walked just one, struck out six and her Lady Stars teammates played errorless defense behind her. They also turned three doubleplays to frustrate Bryant.

Meanwhile, Siegel scored once in the first and twice in the second on Bryant’s sophomore lefty Gianni Hulett. Senior Raven Loveless followed up with five innings of shutout relief, allowing one hit and one walk over the final five frames, while striking out eight.

Bryant had three errors in the game.

The first run was a result of a one-out single by Vanessa Westfall followed by a triple from Caitlyn McCrary. Hulett forced McCrary to be stranded at third by inducing a foul pop outside first to Loveless and a grounder to Sarah Evans at short.

Ryan led off the bottom of the first with a single to left but Golliver struck out the next two batters before issuing a walk to Brooklyn Trammell. But a pop out ended the threat.

In the top of the second, Hannah Milhorn led off with a single and Claire Czajkowski doubled. Hulett made a bid to get out of the inning unscathed by striking out Madison Levi and getting Lauren Lee to foul out. But, on a 2-1 pitch, lead-off hitter Presley Leebrick doubled in both runs and the final score was on the board.

In the bottom of the third, Maddie Stephens led off with a single for the Lady Hornets but was thrown out trying to steal second. Ryan beat out a bunt hit but was stranded as Golliver retired the next two.

The lone hit the Lady Stars managed against Loveless was a two-out single by Lee in the top of the fourth.

Meanwhile, the Lady Hornets continued to threaten. In the home fourth, Trammell and Loveless singled to put runners at first and third with no one out. But a popped-up bunt by Chism forced the runners to hold. Golliver let it hit the ground and threw for the out at first. Regan Keesee, in for Trammell, was caught trying to make a late move to the plate for a doubleplay.

Loveless wound up at third but was stranded with Golliver ended the inning with a strikeout of Bella Herring.

Loveless pitched around a one-out error in the fifth and a two-out walk in the sixth. Golliver retired the Lady Hornets in order in the fifth then gave up a lead-off single to Hulett in the sixth. She was stranded at second.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Lady Hornets were set down in order.

Bryant 6, Ardmore 4

Bryant took a 4-0 lead in the first two innings, but the Lady Tigers rallied for two in the third and two more in the fifth and the game went to extra innings deadlocked.

In the top of the eighth, Ryan was placed at second in accordance with the international tie-breaker rule. Hulett sacrificed her to third then Evans singled to snap the tie. Trammell drew a walk and, with two down, Chism lined a single to left to load the bases for Herring, who delivered an infield hit to make it 6-4.

In the home eighth, with Ardmore’s Chesney Widner at second, Loveless, on in relief of Hulett, got Olivia Stafford to hit a grounder to Evans at short. With Widner breaking to third, Evans threw to third baseman Maddie Thompson to get the base-runner in a pickle. Evans eventually tagged her out as Stafford held at first.

Addison Hurst’s grounder to Evans resulted in a force at second so when Loveless got Bo Riley to tap out to Trammell at first, the win was in the books for Bryant.

Evans led the team at the plate with three hits and three runs batted in. Ryan, Hulett, Chism and Thompson each had two hits with Hulett drilling a triple.

In the top of the opening inning, Ryan and Hulett each bunted for a hit. Evans bunted as well and beat it out for a hit. Ryan scored, and runners wound up at second at third. With one out, Hulett scored on a groundout by Loveless.

Hulett pitched around an error in the bottom of the inning and the Lady Hornets added on in the secnd when Thompson singled to center. With one out, Ryan beat out an infield hit but, moments later, Thompson was caught trying to steal third. It was then that Hulett belted her triple to right. She followed Ryan home on Evans’ single to right.

Ardmore managed a two-out hit in the second but didn’t score until the bottom of the third. Alexis Turner blooped a single to center then Carla Hice lined a triple to right. Hice held as Madison Lewis rolled out to Herring at second but L.B. Smith singled to make it 4-2.

Chism threw out pinch-runner Larissa Poole trying to steal and, after singles by Sydney Hall and Stafford, Wise, in as a courtesy runner, was picked off rounding second too far.

There wasn’t another base-runner for either team until the bottom of the fifth when, with one out, Hice doubled for Ardmore. Lewis singled the runner to third but Hulett got Smith on a pop-up. A flyball by Hall, however, was misplayed and the tying runs scored.

Bryant didn’t manage another base-runner until Thompson opened the top of the seventh with a looping single to center. But pinch-runner Joely Calhoun was thrown out trying to steal second. Stephens and Ryan each grounded out to end the inning.

In the home seventh, the Lady Tigers made a bid to win it when, with one out, Hice tripled. But when she tried to score on a bunt by Lewis, Evans got to the ball and fired to Chism at the plate in time for the out that kept the game going.

Smith singled but Loveless, who relieved in the sixth, got the final out on a pop to Evans, setting up the extra-inning drama.

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