BENTON — Gianni Hulett and Raven Loveless combined on a five-inning one-hitter and the Bryant Lady Hornets pounded out an 11-1 win over the defending Class 5A State champion De Queen Lady Leopards to open play in the annual Drew Melton tournament at Riverside Park.
Bryant followed up with an 8-2 win over the Nashville Scrapperettes, the Class 4A State runner-up in 2017.
The Lady Hornets were set to continue the tournament today at 10 a.m., against the Cabot Lady Panthers, a conference rival, weather permitting.
Bryant 11, De Queen 1
The lone hit for the Lady Leopards came with one out in the bottom of the fifth after the Lady Hornets had scored six runs in the top of the inning to make it a run-rule lead, 11-0. Reagan Batty’s single up the middle came after a one-out walk to Avery Johnson and an error on a grounder to third off the bat of Sydney Hill. Johnson scored on Batty’s hit but Hill was thrown out when she tried to get back to second after making a wide turn toward third.
Loveless then ended the game with a strikeout.
Hulett was an offensive force as well, going 3 for 4 with four runs batted in. Sarah Evans went 2 for 2 with a double and freshman Bella Herring was 2 for 2 with three runs scored and two knocked in.
Bryant took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second when Brooklyn Trammell drew a walk. Though her courtesy runner Samantha Still was thrown out trying to steal second, Herring doubled, took third on a Regan Keesee’s groundout and scored on a lined single to left by Maddie Stephens.
A pair of errors created a threat for De Queen in the bottom of the second but Hulett pitched out of the jam with a pair of strikeouts.
It remained 1-0 as Loveless relieved and pitched around a two-out walk in the third. Catcher Meagan Chism threw out Tatyanna Tramble when she tried to steal, ending the frame.
The Lady Hornets began breaking out offensively in the top of the fourth. Evans and Loveless each ripped a single to center and Trammell walked to load the bases. Herring picked up an RBI when she was hit by a pitch, forcing in Evans. With one out, Maddie Thompson drew an RBI walk to make it 3-0. Trammell scored on a passed ball and, with two down, Hulett cracked a single to center to get Herring home. Thompson tried to sneak into third on the late throw to the plate but was thrown out, ending the uprising with Bryant up 5-0.
After Loveless set down the Lady Leopards 1-2-3 in the fourth, Chism opened the top of the fifth with an infield hit and Evans drove a double to center. Loveless hit a tapper to third and Chism beat the throw to the plate to make it 6-0. Trammell singled in Evans, Herring singled to plate Loveless then Thompson smacked a single up the middle to load the bases again.
With two out, Hulett cleared them with a drive to right for a double.
Bryant 8, Nashville 2
Regan Ryan, who set a school record for singles in a career in Bryant’s 6-5 win over Bald Knob earlier in the week, added three more to her total in the win over Nashville while Loveless had two hits including a double and two runs batted in.
The Lady Hornets built a 7-0 lead before the Scrapperettes scratched with a run in the second. Both teams added a tally in the fifth as the game concluded.
Ryan beat out her first hit to open the game and raced to third when Chism’s grounder was booted. Evans walked to fill the sacks and Loveless burned the center fielder with a double that made it 2-0.
Evans scored on Herring’s grounder to short to make it 3-0.
Loveless pitched around a one-out error in the bottom of the inning then Trammell opened the second with a single. Keesee sacrificed her to second. Ryan drove a single to center and Hulett picked up an RBI with a knock to center.
With two out, Ryan and Hulett worked a double steal to put runners at second and third for Evans who yanked a single to left and when the ball was misplayed in the outfield, both runners scored to make it 7-0.
Evans, who wound up at third on the play, came home when a grounder to third by Loveless was misplayed.
Nashville picked up a run in the bottom of the second then it stayed 7-1 until the fifth. Loveless and Herring each singled to open the inning, and both moved up when Stephens rolled out to the pitcher. It looked like the Lady Hornets might not get anything out of the inning until, with two out, Ryan hit a grounder to short that was misplayed allowing Loveless to score to make it 8-1.
For Nashvillle, Olivia Herzog hit a one-out double and Grace Campbell singled but remained at first and third with two down. Julianne Futrell managed a bloop single behind short and Herzog scored before the game ended on a strikeout.