Coming off a deeply disappointing loss on Tuesday, the Bryant Lady Hornets took it out on the Greenbrier Lady Bulldogs on Thursday night, slugging three home runs as part of an 11-hit attack for a 9-6 win in five innings.
The two teams played each other after Greenbrier had defeated Beebe to start the day as part of the Central Arkansas Shootout. Greenbrier played the second game when Rose Bud, which was scheduled to play Bryant, dropped out of the tournament.
The Lady Hornets will host Rogers Heritage in the tournament on Friday.
Aly Bowers slugged her second home run of the young season to lead off the third inning. In the fourth, Maddie Thompson and Gianni Hulett went back to back over the boards. It was Thompson’s second of the three-game campaign.
Bryant scored in every inning.
“We hit the ball well,” acknowledged Lady Hornets coach Lisa Dreher. “I felt like they were staying inside the ball better. We’re working on some things there. They did well tonight.”
Despite playing on their own field, the Lady Hornets were visitors. They jumped out to a 2-0 lead on consecutive doubles by Thompson and Hulett. A two-out single by Meagan Chism drove home the second run.
Thompson, by the way, was 3 for 3 in the game. Hulett, Chism and Alissa Suarez each had two knocks.
Greenbrier tied it in the bottom of the first. Kylie Griffin beat out a bunt single and took second on an errant pickoff throw. McKayla Betts drew a walk then Hulett and the Lady Hornets came within a strike of getting out of the inning.
Shelby Coats lashed a 3-2 pitch into shallow left. Bryant’s Caitlin LaCerra came rushing in and nearly made the catch with a diving attempt, but the ball fell in and it resulted in a two-run double.
In Bryant’s second, Christine Mefford worked for a walk, fouling off a pair of 3-2 pitches before ball four was delivered. Suarez cracked a single up the middle and LaCerra got a sacrifice bunt down to move them to second and third.
That led to Thompson’s second hit, a two-run single to right. She took second on the late throw to the plate but was then caught trying to sneak into third.
Hulett eased through the bottom of the second then, in the third, pitched around a lead-off single.
“From my perspective, it looked like she had more movement on the ball tonight,” Dreher said of her senior pitcher, “and I expect her to keep progressing like that and get stronger.”
“We’ve got to make basic plays on defense,” she added. “We’ve got to back our pitcher up. It stings when we don’t make the basic plays.”
Bowers led off the top of the third with a lined homer to right. The Lady Hornets made it 6-2 when Chism doubled, Bella Herring walked and, after a double steal, Mefford delivered a sacrifice fly.
With one out in the fourth, Thompson drove a pitch over the boards in center and, a pitch later, Hulett cracked her home to left-center, extending the lead further.
Greenbrier trimmed two runs off the margin in the bottom of the fourth. Shelby Coats was hit by a pitch and, after she was forced at second on Cassidy Lear’s grounder to short, Michelle Mendoza beat out an infield hit.
With runners at first and second, Alison Hankins sliced a 1-2 pitch down the right field line for an RBI double. Mendoza scored the second run on McKenzie Shannon’s grounder to second.
Joely Calhoun singled with two out in the top of the fifth for Bryant. She scored all the way from first when Suarez plugged the gap in right-center for an RBI double, making it 9-4.
Hannah Works took over in the circle for the Lady Hornets in the fifth. She walked the first two batters she faced, both on 3-2 counts. Kailey Hamilton hit a roller to third and, when the Lady Hornets tried unsuccessfully to get a force at third, the bases were loaded with no one out.
But Works got Coats to ground out to third then Lear bounced out to second as runs scored on each play.
With a runner at third, Works got Dyanah Rippeto to hit a roller to third. Thompson threw her out at first to end the game.