Lady Hornets dismiss struggling Belles

Kelsie Works (Photo by Rick Nation)

By Rob Patrick

SHERWOOD — It’s been a rough couple of seasons for the Mount St. Mary Academy Belles softball team. Last year was the first since 2000 that a Belles team did not make the State tournament and it looks like, with just two wins overall and one in 7A-Central Conference play, they’ll miss out again this season.

Though there’s no shortage of effort or want-to, there is a shortage of players — just 11 listed on the line-up card — and they’re just over-matched most nights.

Bryant Lady Hornets head coach Debbie Stepp likes her team to play with consistent effort and intensity, but recalling a 15-1 win over Mount earlier in the season and knowing full well how the campaign has gone for the Belles, the Lady Hornets just didn’t manage that when the two teams met at the Sherwood Athletic Complex on Thursday night.

They had fun, though. Taking advantage of nine walks and five errors with eight hits, the Lady Hornets eased to a 15-2 win in five innings to improve to 17-2 overall this season and 9-1 in league play, still a game behind North Little Rock which escaped Russellville with a 4-1 win on Thursday.[more]

Cassidy Wilson, Peyton Jenkins and Kayla Sory each had two hits for Bryant. Jenkins drove in four runs while Wilson and Jenna Bruick reached base in all four plate appearances and scored each time.

Sory, the starting pitcher for Bryant, eased to 1-2-3 innings in four of the five, giving up the Belles’ two unearned runs and two of their three hits in the third.

Bryant took a 2-0 lead in the opening inning when Bruick popped a double down the left-field line. Wilson walked and both moved up on a wild pitch. A passed ball allowed Bruick to score then, with one out, Wilson came home on a groundout by Jenkins.

It stayed 2-0 until the third. Sory retired the first six she faced, two on strikes and, in the second, three in a row on comebackers.

Jenna Bruick (Photo by Rick Nation)

Bruick started the third-inning uprising as well, waiting out a walk. She stole second and took third on a wild pitch then scored on a lined single to left by Wilson. When the ball was misplayed in the outfield, Wilson sprinted all the way to third. Jessie Taylor drew a walk and took second without a play. A wild pitch allowed Wilson to score as Taylor took third.

With one out, Sory walked and took second as Taylor was held at third. Shanika Johnson walked to load the bases. A tap in front of the plate by Kelsie Works was played well by pitcher Emily Elmore for a force at the plate but Ashley Chaloner walked to force in a run then a fourth run came home on an illegal pitch.

Trailing 6-0, the Belles picked up their first hit when Brady Escovedo doubled off the fence in the left-field corner. An out later, Eryn Tracey singled to put runners at the corners.

Sory struck out Claire Gibby then Rachel Pelegrino got a bunt down. Sory charged and fielded the ball and threw to Bruick covering first. With Pelegrino bearing down on the bag, Bruick had to reach into the path of the runner to try to catch the throw and couldn’t hold it. Escovedo scored on the play and, moments later, Tracey slid home on a wild pitch though she was almost nailed as Taylor, the Bryant catcher, hustled after the ball and Sory covered.

With Pelegrino at second, Sory got the next batter, Cheyenne Harper to pop to Johnson at third to end the inning.

In the top of the fourth, Bryant scored four more runs. Bruick reached on an error and, after she stole second, Wilson shot an RBI single to left to make it 7-2.

Taylor reached on an error and, after a wild pitch put runners at second and third, Jenkins singled up the middle to chase both home. Sory followed with a double and, with one out, Works grounded to first to pick up an RBI as Jenkins scored to make it 10-2.

In the bottom of the inning, Bruick robbed Elmore of a hit with a nice back-handed stab at second. Sara Fritz followed with a single but Macy McCannon struck out on a pitch in the dirt and when Fritz tried to get to second on the play, Taylor pounced on the ball and gunned her down to end the inning.

Sory would retire the side in order in the bottom of the fifth using just six pitches.

In the interim, the Lady Hornets pushed five more runs home. Bruick’s one-out walk set the wheels in motion. After she advanced on a wild pitch, Wilson reached on an error. Taylor’s infield hit drove in a run then Jenkins singled in the second. Taylor scored on a wild pitch.

With Jenkins at third, Sory walked. Johnson’s groundout got Jenkins home then Sory scored on a wild pitch after Shelby Henson reached base on an error.

Weather permitting, the Lady Hornets were set to play in a tournament in Sheridan on Saturday. They were set to open against Watson Chapel. The tourney also includes Springdale, Lake Hamilton, Arkansas Baptist, Malvern and Van Buren along with the host team.

After that, Bryant is off until Thursday, April 29, when a trip to Russellville is planned.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

error: Content is protected !!