NORTH LITTLE ROCK — The Bryant Lady Hornets, the defending champions of the largest[more] classification in Arkansas, dominated the Lady Charging Wildcats Tournament of Champions at Burns Park over the weekend by blasting three opponents that were among the top teams in their respective classifications last season.
By blanking the Hope Lady Bobcats, 8-0, on Friday night; the Foreman Lady Gators, 14-0, on Saturday morning; then the Searcy Lady Lions, 16-1, Saturday afternoon, the Lady Hornets captured the tourney title for the second year in a row.
Granted, there’s no guarantee that any of the teams in the tournament will be playing for a championship this spring but Bryant made it obvious which one of them is most likely to return. Of course, the Lady Hornets returned all of the starters from the team that won the 2011 State title and most of whom were on the field when they won the 2010 crown.
Bryant was so overwhelming against the three opponents at the T of C that only one of the games lasted more than five innings, the one on Friday, which ended in six. Against Foreman, the Lady Hornets had a 10-run inning. Against Searcy, they put together an eight-run uprising.
Peyton Jenkins pitched all 16 innings in the tourney and allowed just the one run to Searcy, and just six hits in the three games. She struck out a whopping 31 batters and only issued two walks.
As a team, Bryant pounded out 34 hits, almost half of which were for extra base hits including a three-run bomb by Jenkins against Searcy and a grand slam by Jessie Taylor against Foreman.
The Lady Hornets only had two innings in the tournament in which they did not score.
Bryant 16, Searcy 1
The only run Jenkins and the Lady Hornets surrendered the entire tournament came in the top of the first of the championship game. It came on a lead-off single, a sacrifice and a two-out hit.
The sacrifice and a one-out grounder to Jenna Bruick at second proved to be the only outs in the game that weren’t Jenkins’ strikeouts. She hit a batter with two out in the third and allowed a lead-off single in the fourth but those were the only base-runners after the opening inning.
The Lady Hornets wasted no time gaining the upper hand. In the home first, Bruick, Taylor, Kayla Sory and Cassidy Wilson ripped consecutive doubles to make it 3-1. Wilson moved to third on a groundout by Kaley Coppock then scored when Carly Yazza reached on an error.
After Jenkins struck out the side in the top of the second, the Lady Hornets’ eight-run eruption commenced. Jenkins singled and with Brianna Davis running for her, Bruick got a sacrifice bunt down and beat it out. Davis was caught trying to steal third but Taylor singled on a liner over short. Kayla Jolley ran for Taylor and when Sory reached on an error, the bases were loaded for Wilson who raked a double to right to clear the bases. An out later, Yazza pulled a triple to left and Katy Stillman singled her in. A base hit by McKenzie Rice set the stage for Jenkins’ blast to center, making it 12-1.
Sory walked and scored when Wilson’s shot to third was misplayed. Wilson, who wound up at third, came home on a sacrifice fly by Coppock to make it 14-1.
To cap off the rout in the fourth, Rice tripled and scored when Jenkins’ grounder to short was booted. Bruick reached on an error and Breanna Sanders, running for Jenkins scored on a double steal.
Bryant 14, Foreman 0
Jenkins fired a two-hit shutout with six strikeouts while Coppock led the 13-hit attack with three hits. Rice added three hits and drove in three runs.
Foreman didn’t manage a base-runner until the third when Jenkins pitched around a lead-off single and a one-out error.
By then, the Lady Hornets had built a 4-0 lead.
They started with two out in the bottom of the first when a slew of errors and an RBI single by Coppock made it 2-0. In the second, Stillman singled, stole second and scored on a double by Rice. An out later, Bruick reached on yet another Foreman miscue and Rice scored to make it 4-0.
The third was only the second in which Bryant was kept from scoring but the fourth proved to be the team’s biggest of the tournament. It began with singles by Rice and Jenkins. Bruick got a bunt down and reached to load the bags for Taylor who launched her third home run of the season. The slam made it 8-0.
But it was only the beginning. Singles by Sory and Wilson were followed by an RBI double by Coppock. Wilson came in on a wild pitch then Yazza reached on an error at third as Coppock scored. Stillman ripped a double then Rice delivered a two-run single up the middle.
The onslaught concluded with an RBI double by Jenkins.
Bryant 8, Hope 0
The Lady Hornets gradually pulled away from Hope on Friday night. The Lady Bobcats’ lone hit was a lead-off single in the third which was wiped out when Taylor caught the base-runner trying to steal second.
The Lady Hornets took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the inning with the help of a trio of Hope errors. Wilson’s single was Bryant’s lone hit of the inning.
In the second, Stillman got things going with a double, Rice singled her to third then Jenkins belted a double to center that got Stillman home easily. Rice tried to follow but was thrown out at the plate.
Bruick singled then Taylor grounded into a force at second as Davis, running for Jenkins, crossed the plate, making it 4-0.
Wilson led off the third with a triple. She held when Coppock beat out a roller in front of the plate for a hit but when Yazza launched a fly to left, Wilson tagged and scored to make it 5-0.
The Lady Hornets closed it out with three in the fourth. Errors helped again. Sory’s RBI single was the lone hit.
Now 9-0 on the season, the Lady Hornets take the rest of spring break off then return to 7A/6A-Central Conference action on Tuesday, March 27, against Mount St. Mary.