Lady Hornets sharp in lopsided win over Lady Leopards

Raven Loveless and Kerrigan Allen combined on a three-hit shutout while their Bryant Lady Hornets’ teammates pounded out 10 hits in a 12-0 run-rule win over the Malvern Lady Leopards on Tuesday.

After the rains of the previous week, Bryant head coach Lisa Dreher picked up two games for her team early this week in advance of the prestigious Tournament of Champions in North Little Rock starting Friday.

Though the Lady Hornets won both games, they were much more polished on Tuesday. Monday’s 8-5 win had been marred by nine errors in the field. Against Malvern, they committed just one.

Regan Ryan and Macey Jaramillo each had two hits in Tuesday’s contest. Ryan’s included a bases-loaded triple. Julie Ward picked up runs batted in with a double and a sacrifice fly. Mallory Theel came through with a pair of sacrifice flies.

“I told them going in, we just need to be smarter at the plate,” said Dreher, “know what they want to hit instead of just swinging at whatever the pitcher throws to them. They’re going in with a plan and it’s helping. We had fewer strikeouts and more contact tonight. That’s what we’re looking for.”

Kyla Clark, Loveless’ counterpart starting the game in the circle, had two of her team’s hits, both two-out singles. Macey Purifoy singled with one out in the top of the fourth, the only hit Allen allowed. Moments later, Aubry Nix made a bid at another hit with a drive to right only to have Jaramillo charge in and make the catch. With Purifoy headed to second, Jaramillo threw to Theel for an inning-ending doubleplay.

Malvern’s best chance to score came in the second when, with one out, Purifoy walked. Loveless struck out Nix but an error allowed Mary Kate Worthington to reach, putting runners at the corners. But Loveless took care of things from there, inducing a comebacker from Abby Leming that resulted in the third out.

Loveless fanned four in her three innings of work.

At the plate, the Lady Hornets filled the bases in the first but Clark and the Lady Leopards escaped unscathed. Ryan had beaten out a bunt single, Meagan Chism walked and Jaramillo beat out an infield hit.

In the second, however, Bryant erupted for eight runs on five hits, taking advantage of three errors, a hit batsman and a walk.

Loveless started the inning with an infield hit into the hole at short. Courtesy runner Carlie Bradley swiped second and, after Theel was struck by a pitch, Maddie Stephens smacked a solid single to center to load the sacks for Shayla McKissock. On an 0-2 pitch, McKissock cracked a sinking liner to left for an RBI single, breaking the ice.

Four pitches later, Ryan laced a liner to left that went to the wall for her three-run triple.

Sarah Evans’ hot shot to second was misplayed allowing Ryan to score. Chism followed with a roller back to the pitcher, who whirled and threw too high to second. Jaramillo’s single to left loaded the bases again and Ward delivered her sacrifice fly to make it 6-0.

That brought Loveless back to the plate. She grounded to short but Leming made an ill-advised throw to the plate that got away and Chism scored. Jaramillo wound up at third on the play and Loveless went to second. Theel’s first sacrifice fly capped off the uprising.

The Lady Hornets made it a run-rule lead in the home fourth. Jaramillo was hit by a pitch and scored all the way from first when Ward ripped a double to the fence in right-center. Loveless drilled a single to center and when it was misplayed, Reagan Keesee, running for Ward, crossed the plate.

After a pitching change, Theel produced her second sacrifice fly.

With two down, Stephens walked and Miranda Mayfield hit the base of the fence for a double. Stephens tried to score, moments later, when a return throw from the catcher to the pitcher got away but pitcher Kaley Golden recovered quickly enough to fire home in time for the out. McKissock back in to run for Mayfield, advanced to third on the play then, after Ryan walked, scored on a wild pitch to make it 12-0.

Chism made a nice play at third for the first out of the fifth. Allen then fanned Leming. The last out came when lead-off hitter Macy Holyfield ran too far forward and made contact with a pitch out of the batter’s box. She was called out leaving teammate Nitch Carli standing in the on-deck circle.

Now 6-2, the Lady Hornets open the Tournament of Champions on Friday against Greenwood, starting at 9:15 p.m.

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