By Bridget Bauer
RUSSELLVILLE — In two games Friday at Russellville, Bryant racked up 19 runs. Meanwhile, the Lady Hornets kept the Lady Cyclones from scoring in recording two consecutive shutouts.
In the first contest, Bryant (13-1, 9-0 6A/7A-Central) defeated Russellville, 8-0. In the second meeting, the Lady Hornets piled up 11 runs for the 11-0 victory. The Lady Cyclones have one of the best pitchers in the state in Alabama signee Andrea Kendrick. However, Kendrick is out for the season after suffering pain and loss of feeling in her pitching arm and will have surgery in the next two weeks.
“Andrea is the real deal,” Bryant Coach Debbie Clark said. “We were not sure who we would see on the mound and saw three pitchers in two games. Our girls did a great job of staying focused and transitioning from pitcher to pitcher. They had to go from late timing to early timing within the same game. Good hitters can transition from at bat to at bat; however, great hitters can transition from pitch to pitch.”
Freshmen pitcher Raven Loveless had a stellar night for the Lady Hornets. She pitched the first contest and gave up four hits while striking out two batters and walking none. At the plate, in the two games combined, she amassed six hits and six RBIs including a 4-of-4 performance with five RBIs in the second contest.
“Raven Loveless pitches her heart out on the mound and then comes in and picks her bat up and turns hitting mode on,” Clark said. “You never see her hitting affecting her pitching and vice versa. If she isn’t pitching, we find a way to get her bat in the lineup. She played left field in the second game. Raven is a very special player, and we are very glad she is wearing that blue and white.”
Senior Jordan Williams also had a productive night at the plate. In the two contests, she totaled four hits and five RBI with four of the RBIs occurring in the first game on two hits. Junior Miranda Mayfield recorded four hits and three RBI in the two contests.
In the first game, Bryant only scored in two frames and didn’t get on the board until the third inning when the Lady Hornets tallied three runs. They cemented their lead with a five-run production in the sixth stanza. In the second contest, they tallied runs in the first, third, fourth and sixth innings with three runs in three of those frames.
“Our goal is to score as soon as possible and especially to be the team to score first,” Clark said. “Our pitchers and flawless defense kept Russellville scoreless, but we only scored twice in the first game, another aspect of our game we are constantly working to improve. In the second game, however, we scored in the first inning and again in the third, fourth and sixth. This offensive attack is exactly what we are striving for.”
Bryant piled up 14 hits in the first game. Mayfield led the charge with three. She drove in two runs. Williams recorded two doubles and four RBIs with Abby Staton, Julie Ward and Loveless also smacking two hits apiece. Freshman Brooklyn Trammell, Cayla McDowell and Mallory Theel all contributed a hit each.
The Lady Hornets got on the board in the third inning behind Williams’ RBI double and Mayfield’s two-run single. The sixth frame was highlighted by Williams’ double that scored three runs with Loveless and Theel contributing run-scoring singles.
In the second contest, Loveless led the 11-hit performance with four including a triple with Williams smashing two doubles and Shayla McKissock belting a triple and a single. Mayfield chipped in a double and McDowell and Jacylnn Greenwood also added hits. Staton picked up the pitching win and yielded three hits, struck out seven batters and walked five.
Bryant scored in the first inning on Loveless’ two-run triple with McDowell also platiing a run on her single. In the third stanza, the Lady Hornets added two more runs on Loveless’ two-run single. Three runs in the fourth frame gave them a commanding 8-0 margin. McKissock smacked a two-RBI triple, and Williams scored a run on her double. The three runs in the sixth inning gave Bryant the run-rule. McKissock scored on a passed ball, Mayfield hit an RBI double and Loveless added an RBI single.
The Lady Hornets play at Vilonia on Tuesday, April 21, then return to conference action against Mount St. Mary Academy on Friday.