Lady Hornets hammer out 20 hits on the way to win at Vilonia
EDITOR’S NOTE: Because the look back at each day in Bryant athletic history has been so favorably received during the time when there was no sports during the COVID-19 shutdown, BryantDaily.com will continue posting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on BryantDaily.com (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).
By Rob Patrick
VILONIA — After an inning, the Bryant Lady Hornets found themselves trailing the[more] Vilonia Lady Eagles 1-0. A solo homer by Hallie Freeman with two out in the bottom of the first was the only run on the board.
But the first was the only inning Bryant didn’t score. The Lady Hornets pounded out 20 hits including four by Kayla Sory and three each by Jenna Bruick, Jessie Taylor and Ashley Chaloner on the way to a 16-3 win. Taylor drove in five runs including a pair on a sixth-inning homer.
Peyton Jenkins scattered six hits, walked no one and struck out five from the circle for the Lady Hornets.
Now 3-0, Bryant travels to White Hall on Monday then opens 7A/6A-Central Conference play with a twinbill at Little Rock Central on Thursday, March 17.
“It took us the first couple of innings but then we started hitting really well,” acknowledged Lady Hornets coach Debbie Clark whose niece is a new assistant coach for the Vilonia team.
“She played at Hope and won two State championships and was the MVP both years,” Clark mentioned. “So it was really cool to be able to play her. She does a good job and Coach (Calvin) Robnette, he’s had a great program. He’s won a State championship and I played him when I was at Wynne in 5A. I knew what kind of program they had. They’re young and they made some mental errors. My girls are really good about putting the ball in play, putting pressure on the other team with their baserunning. They’re just good at responding and reacting and thinking ahead.”
Bryant tied the game in the second inning when Sory singled and raced to third on Carly Yazza’s sacrifice bunt. Chaloner drove in the run with a single to right.
In the bottom of the second, Audry Moran singled with one out for the Lady Eagles and took second on a sacrifice by Whitney Wade. But when she tried to steal third, Taylor threw her out to end the inning.
Bryant took the lead in the top of the third. Bruick and Cassidy Wilson singled. Taylor’s base hit drove in Bruick and when the throw home was errant, Wilson wound up scoring as well as Taylor hustled into second.
McKenzie Rice came on to run for Taylor and took third on a one-out single by Sory. With Yazza at the plate faking a bunt, Sory took off for second and when the throw there was bobbled, Rice sprinted home with another run, making it 4-1.
Yazza proceeded to crack a single to center but the inning ended when Vilonia turned a doubleplay.
Vilonia trimmed a run off the margin in the bottom of the third on a two-out infield hit to Miah Williams, an unsuccessful fielder’s choice and an RBI single by Freeman. But, with the tying runs in scoring position, Jenkins struck out the Lady Eagles’ clean-up hitter Katie Farris to retire the side.
“Peyton did a great job,” Clark stated. “She got used to the strike zone and I was really proud of her and her performance.”
Back at the plate, the Lady Hornets continued to add on. Hannah Rice reached base on a one-out error then Bruick beat out a bunt single. Wilson walked to load the bases for Taylor who laced a double that drove in two. A third run scored when the ball was misplayed. Jenkins drove in McKenzie Rice, running for Taylor, with a sacrifice fly to make it 8-2.
Sory cracked a double and Yazza beat out an infield hit. Chaloner then shot a liner to the right side that was ruled to have struck Yazza. Chaloner was credited with a hit but Yazza was the third out.
After Jenkins worked around an error in the bottom of the inning, freshman Katy Stillman opened the top of the fifth with a single to center. Hannah Rice walked then Bruick bounced into a force at third. Rice was retired on Wilson’s grounder to short but then Taylor drew a walk to load the bases with two down. Jenkins beat out an infield hit to plate a run then Sory drilled a double to chase in two more.
In the top of the sixth, Chaloner started the final uprising for Bryant with an infield hit, Stillman chased in pinch-runner Brittney Ball with a triple to right. With one out, Bruick slapped a single to left for an RBI. She advanced to second on a passed ball and scored on Wilson’s solid single to left. Taylor then capped things off with her two-run bomb.
A third Vilonia pitcher came on at that point and got the final two outs.
And the Lady Eagles scratched out a run in the bottom of the inning on a single, a groundout and an error but they could not avoid the run-rule.
“We made a couple of mental errors tonight that we need to work on,” Clark said. “We were impatient a little bit at the plate but we finally got that to work out.
“We’ve just got a lot of good players that are doing some really good things for us,” she added. “We won the JV game 3-1 and we’ve been impressed with some of the things we’ve seen in the JV games, which is good. That’s what we want.
“So I’m really proud and pleased. We’ve just to got to keep working hard to get ready for our conference games.”