FORT SMITH — Perhaps past their mid-season slump, the Bryant Lady Hornets made the long trek to play the Northside Lady Bears on Friday night and came away with a 10-0 win behind the pitching and hitting of Gianni Hulett.
In the teams’ first meeting, the Lady Hornets had to eke out a 1-0 win in nine innings at Bryant on March 12.
This time, Hulett fired a one-hit shutout, striking out six without a walk. Cailin Massey had the lone Northside single.
At the plate, she went 4 for 4 with an RBI and three runs scored. Aly Bowers had three hits and Caitlin LaCerra two.
The Lady Hornets were coming off back-to-back 6A-Central Conference losses, to Cabot, 5-0, on April 2, and to Conway, 16-9, on Tuesday. In between, they edged Bentonville 2-0.
Massey’s hit started the bottom of the first. After that, Hulett and the Bryant defense retired 21 in a row. Without that lone hit, It would’ve been a perfect game.
The Lady Hornets built a 4-0 lead in the first inning with Hulett picking up the first RBI with a single after Maddie Thompson had walked and LaCerra had beaten out a bunt for a knock.
LaCerra and Hulett worked a double steal then a passed ball allowed a run to score. A second passed ball made it 3-0.
Bowers doubled and scored when Bella Herring’s fly to right was misplayed.
Bryant added on in the third. This time, Hulett got the inning started with a single to left. And when the ball was misplayed in the outfield, she raced to third. Meagan Chism singled her in to make it 5-0. But a throw in behind Chism from centerfield picked her off.
With two outs, however, Bowers shot a single into left and Herring followed with another. When Herring stole second and drew an errant throw, Bowers scored to make it 6-0.
In the fourth, Thompson walked and Hulett singled, but both were stranded.
Neither team mounted much of a threat until, in the top of the seventh, the Lady Hornet pushed four more across the plate.
The uprising started with another bunt single by the speedy LaCerra. Hulett bounced a base hit up the middle then they worked a double steal once again. Chism delivered LaCerra with a sacrifice fly then Hulett scored on Regan Dillon’s grounder to second.
Up 8-0, the Lady Hornets resumed the onslaught with a single by Bowers and a walk to Herring. Both sprinted home on a double to center by Alissa Suarez.
A strikeout, a lineout to Thompson at first and a grounder to first provided the final three outs.
The win improved the Lady Hornets to 15-6 overall and 5-2 in league play going into a non-conference contest at Sheridan on Monday. Bryant hosts Mount St. Mary Academy in its next league game on Tuesday.