For more photos of this event by Rick Nation, go here
For the second year in a row, the Bryant Lady Hornets have captured the outright 7A-Central Conference championship.
Though, along the way, they got a little scare from the Conway Lady Wampus Cats, they put together a four-run home sixth to turn an 8-8 game into a 12-8 lead that held for the victory under sloppy, wet conditions at the Lady Hornets’ Yard.
Seniors Callie Bradley, Sarah Evans, Regan Keesee, Raven Loveless, Regan Ryan, Maddie Stephens and Brooklyn Trammell were honored after the game, which was their last on their home field.
The Lady Hornets will open up the Class 7A State Tournament in Conway on Friday, May 11, at 10 a.m., against the winner of a first-round game on Thursday between the fourth seed from the Central, probably old rival North Little Rock, and the fifth seed from the West, the loser of Monday’s game between Van Buren and Rogers Heritage.
After bolting to an 8-1 lead on Friday, the Lady Hornets saw Conway trim it to 8-2 in the top of the fifth then, with the aid of four of Bryant’s six errors in the game and a pair of walks, the Lady Cats found six runs in the top of the sixth to tie it.
In the bottom of the inning, Stephens drew a walk and advanced to second on Evans’ grounder to first. Stephens stole third before Chism drew a free pass. An error allowed Stephens to score, snapping the tie. Chism, who wound up at third on the error, scored on a passed ball.
Loveless was issued an intentional walk. Bradley came on as a courtesy runner and stole second. Maddie Thompson singled her to third then Bella Herring’s knock plated Bradley, making it 11-8.
Yet another Bryant error on the sloppy infield allowed Emily Cecil to reach base to start the top of the seventh. After some field maintenance, Loveless, who went the distance in the circle, surrender just two earned runs, got Megan Solberg and Tremere Harris to ground out. With Cecil at third, she struck out T’Yauna Rector to end the game.
Herring, one of two starting freshmen for Bryant, went 4 for 4 in the game. The other frosh, Suarez, drilled a two-run homer. Evans hada double and slugged a homer, driving in four. Ryan had two hits as well.
Holly Stewart had to of Conway’s eight hits. Addison Jordan also had a pair and Allie St. John drove in three. She started the scoring in the game with a home run to lead off the top of the second.
Bryant took the lead in the bottom of the second. Trammell drew a one-out walk and, after Thompson sacrificed Keesee, in to run for Trammell, to second, Herring lined a single to left to tie it. Suarez untied it with her blast over the boards in left.
In the bottom of the third, Stephens singled, and Evans doubled her home. Evans took third on a passed ball as Chism drew a walk. Loveless bounced into a force at second as Evans scored, making it 5-1.
Loveless pitched around a walk and a single in the top of the fourth then Evans belted a three-run bomb with two down in the bottom of the inning.
Conway stayed alive with the run in the top of the fifth. Cecil led off the inning with a single to left then Solberg beat out an infield knock. Though Chism, the Bryant catcher, picked Cecil off second, Harris reached on an error and the Lady Cats had runners at second and third. Solberg tried to score on Rector’s grounder to Thompson at third but was thrown out at the plate. Holly Stewart, however, singled in Harris.
Jordan started the six-run sixth with a single but. The only other hit of the inning was an RBI single by Stewart that made it 8-6. Another error followed on a ball hit by St. John that allowed two to score, tying it up.
Conway put the potential go-ahead runs at second and third but when Madeline Bruce tried to score on a grounder to Evans at short, she was thrown out at the plate. Loveless got Shelby Reed on a comebacker to keep it 8-8.