NASHVILLE — The news for the Bryant Lady Hornets softball team was good and bad on Monday when they traveled to Nashville for a hastily scheduled game to make up for the teams’ respective games lost to the weather last week.
The good news was that they won, 8-5, pounded out nine hits, and pitched well enough to deny the Lady Scrappers a hit. The bad news was the fact that the defense suffered nine errors, which helped turn an 8-0 lead into the 8-5 final.
The Lady Hornets have added another game today when they’ll host Malvern at 6 p.m., with free admission as a fan appreciation day.
Macey Jaramillo and Julie Ward each had two hits and Sarah Evans smacked another home run. Ward had a double and drove in three while Jaramillo tripled and chased home two.
Raven Loveless pitched the first five innings and fanned three without a walk. Nashville managed just one base-runner over the first four innings, which got aboard on an error. In the fifth, she pitched around a hit batsman and an error with the help of a doubleplay.
Kerrigan Allen relieved in the sixth and Nashville took advantage of a pair of errors to spoil the shutout. In the seventh, a walk and three more errors provided the Lady Scrappers with the fuel to score four times before Evans speared a liner to short to end the game.
“I’m proud of Macey and Julie for making adjustments at the plate,” said Bryant coach Lisa Dreher. “They came to the plate with a plan and executed.
“Our slappers are doing an excellent job of putting the ball in play,” she added. “The middle of our lineup has to continue to be a presence if we’re going to win the tough ones. I wanted them to have less offensive strikeouts this game. We did that, but we could still get better at making contact after two strikes.
“Raven pitched well and seems to be getting stronger,” the coach continued. “I expect that she will continue to improve.
“After Kerrigan came in, our defense had 9 errors, 4 of those from our starters,” Dreher noted. “I believe they both pitched well enough to hold them scoreless. We just can’t have the errors this weekend and expect to do well.”
The Lady Hornets play in the annual Tournament of Champions in North Little Rock, starting Friday. The tourney features many of the previous year’s State champions. Bryant will open against the defending 6A champion Greenwood, a 7A/6A-Central Conference rival.
“We have a lot of little things we need to clean up before we play Greenwood,” Dreher stated. “The majority of the girls are still inattentive running bases. You have to know what’s going on 100 percent of the time on the base paths. I believe Shayla (McKissock) truly understands how to run, but we need others to learn. They have to always want to get to the next base and take those opportunities. It’s one of those things you can’t do for them.”
McKissock, a senior third baseman, was credited with two stolen bases in the game.
The Lady Hornets gained the upper hand right away, scoring four times in the first inning. A one-out walk to Regan Ryan got things going. Evans was plunked by a pitch and, with two down, Meagan Chism walked, setting the stage for Ward’s double, which cleared the bases. Jaramillo’s RBI single made it 4-0.
It stayed that way until the top of the third when Chism and Ward cracked singles to produce a run. Jaramillo tripled to make it 6-0 then scored on a base hit from Maddie Stephens.
Evans made it 8-0 when she led off the fourth with her homer.
Bryant also won the junior varsity game. Shelby Stuckey and Anna Turpin worked the circle in the 11-2 victory.
At the plate, Callie Bradley went 3 for 3 and Regan Keesee had two hits. Daphne Overbey clubbed a home run. Stuckey, Turpin, Keely Allen and Hennessae Shavers each pitched in with a hit.