File photo by Rick Nation
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — It was, no doubt, a worn out group of Bryant Lady Hornets who returned home on Saturday night. Their four-day trip to the Murfreesboro, Tenn., area for the South Warriors Classic concluded early in the day with three more games — and three more wins — before they loaded up the bus for the six-hour ride home.
It was an extremely successful trip for the Lady Hornets who, with the three varsity victories on Saturday, improved to 15-1 on the season by going 7-1 in the Classic, while the junior varsity wound up 5-0.
Sunday’s wions were 8-3 over Florence, Ala., 8-0 over Lexington, Tenn., and 6-2 over Smyrna, Tenn.
The Lady Hornets return to action on Tuesday with a 7A-Central Conference contest at home against Little Rock Central.
Bryant 8, Florence, Ala. 3
Tied 3-3 through five innings, the Lady Hornets broke out in the bottom of the sixth with five runs. Raven Loveless had three hits in the game while Sarah Evans added two doubles with three runs batted in. Regan Ryan, Meagan Chism and Bella Herring each had two knocks as well.
Alexis Helton went the distance in the pitcher’s circle with the first varsity start by anyone other than Gianni Hulett or Loveless. She scattered five hits, gave up three runs, all in the top of the third, walked four and struck out one. Her teammates played errorless defense behind her.
Bryant’s game-breaking really began with a double by Loveless. Chism singled and made it to third when the throw from left field came home to hold Loveless at third. Aly Bowers followed with a two-run double to right to put Bryant ahead.
The inning continued with a bunt single by Herring, who then stole second. With one out, Ryan grounded to second and Bowers was thrown out at the plate. With Herring on the third, Hulett came through with a single to make it 6-3 then Evans ripped a double to center to plate two more.
Helton pitched around a one-out walk in the top of the seventh to close out the win.
She had pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the first then set down the Lady Falcons in succession in the second.
Bryant got on the board in the home second when Loveless and Chism singled, advanced on a wild pitch and, with one out, Herring got a squeeze bunt down to get Loveless home.
Florence broke through with its three runs in the top of the third. Kennede Cobb singled, advanced on a sacrifice by Presley Witt. Anna Kate Jones was hit by a pitch then Sidney Southward drove home two with a triple.
After a walk to Kyndell Crosslin, Kelsey Todd got a squeeze bunt down to get Southward home, making it 3-1.
The Lady Hornets tied it in the bottom of the inning. Ryan singled and stole second to set the table. With one out, Evans drilled her second double to knock her home. With two down, Loveless shot a single up the middle to get Evans in and the game was tied.
Florence’s lead-off hitter in the top of the fourth, Halle Koger singled to left but was stranded. The Lady Falcons only managed one more hit the rest of the game, a two-out single by Crosslin in the fifth.
Bryant 8, Lexington, Tenn. 0
Loveless tossed the six-inning, one-hit shutout in the win over the Lexington Lady Tigers, who came into the game with an 11-2 record. Loveless fanned three and, once again, her teammates backed her with errorless defense.
Bryant cracked 12 hits including two from Ryan, Hulett, Evans and Maddie Stephens.
Having a day, Evans drove in two more and had another double.
A six-run second put the Lady Hornets in the driver’s seat.
Loveless started the uprising with a single to center. Chism, bunting, beat out a hit then Maddie Thompson, also bunting, wound up with a single as well with Loveless scoring on the late throw to first.
With Chism at third and Thompson at second with one out, Stephens cracked a single up the middle to make it 3-0. Ryan kept the inning going with a base hit to right that sent Stephens to third. She scored on Hulett’s bunt single then Ryan came home on Evans’ bunt, which was misplayed.
Brooklyn Trammell’s RBI single capped the inning.
In the fourth, Stephens doubled but was thrown out trying to stretch it to a triple. Ryan doubled, however, and, after Hulett reached when her bunt was misplayed, Evans single to right to make it 7-0.
Loveless and the defense, meanwhile, were in the midst of retiring 13 Lady Tigers in a row. She took a no-hitter into the sixth when pinch-hitter Morgan Russell blooped a single to center.
But the Bryant pitcher struck out the next two then ended the game by inducing a grounder to Trammell at first.
The Lady Hornets had added the eighth run in the top of the sixth when, with two out, Hulett walked then scored all the way from first on Evans’ double.
Bryant 6, Smyrna, Tenn. 2
Hulett and Trammell belted home runs as the Lady Hornets competed the sweep on the day.
In the circle, Hulett blanked the Smyrna Lady Bulldogs over the first four innings as Bryant built a 3-0 lead. Smyrna eked out a run in the top of the fifth, but Bryant scored twice more in the home half and added a run in the sixth to make it 6-1. The Lady Bulldogs tried to mound a rally in the top of the seventh but Hulett ended it, forcing them to strand runners at second and third.
She wound up allowing those two runs on eight hits with a walk, two hit batsmen and seven strikeouts.
Thompson and Chism each had two hits for the Lady Hornets. Herring drove in three runs.
Katie Killen knocked in two for Smyrna, which came in with a 9-2-1 record.
Bryant took a 2-0 lead in the home second when Thompson singled with two away, Chism doubled and Herring stroked a two-run single to right.
Hulett pitched around a two-out triple by Hannah Ward in the top of the third then held the Lady Bulldogs despite a one-out walk to Azaria Jones and a single by Lyssi Drayton in the fourth.
Trammell then led off the bottom of the fourth with her solo blast to center.
Smyrna’s first run came on a single by Lexie Harper and a triple by Killen. Ward tried to squeeze Killen home but Hulett pounced on the bunted ball and tossed to her catcher Chism in time for the tag.
With a strikeout and a foul pop, the Lady Hornets were out of the inning, up 3-1.
Hulett made it 5-1 with her two-run shot in the home fifth. Stephens had singled with one out then taken second on Ryan’s sacrifice before the dinger.
A shutdown inning in the top of the sixth was followed by another Bryant run in the bottom of the sixth. Loveless doubled and, after a pitching change, Thompson drew a walk and Chism singled to load the bases. Herring’s grounder to third was kicked and Loveless scored.
In the seventh, Harper belted a one-out triple and scored on Killen’s second hit, a single to left. Kellen stole second but was thrown out trying to steal third for the second out. That proved fortuitous when Ward doubled. A fly out to Ryan in center ended the contest.