By Rob Patrick
Though they won both games, the first one was more[more] fun than the second.
That’s because, the Bryant Lady Hornets racked up 13 hits including four home runs in the 13-3 opening victory over the Mount St. Mary Belles. Though they won the second game 19-1, the Lady Hornets had “just” nine hits, which, coupled with the 13 walks and five errors (which slowed down the game considerably), proved to be plenty.
The victories improved the Lady Hornets to 15-3 overall and 5-0 in the 7A/6A-Central Conference going into today’s trip to Cabot.
A steady wind blowing out didn’t hurt in the first game. In fact, not only did Peyton Jenkins slug two round-trippers and Hannah Rice and Kayla Sory one each, but Mount’s Emily Elmore belted one.
In fact, Elmore’s came in the top of the first inning after Cheyanne Harper had drawn a walk. But, after that, Jenkins struck out six consecutive batters before Harper doubled. She then fanned Nikki Sanders to end the threat.
Bryant tied the game in the bottom of the first when Jessie Taylor doubled and Jenkins launched her first bomb. Sory, who had three hits in the game, followed with a single but was forced out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the second, however, the Lady Hornets took the lead. Ashley Chaloner beat out an infield single and stole second. Carly Yazza singled her to third but was thrown out trying to steal second moments later. Katy Stillman got the run home, however, with a grounder to short.
Taylor singled and Jenkins went deep a second time in the third inning to make it 5-2.
The Belles were retired in order in the fourth and, in the home half, Rice smacked her first home run since she had one in the State championship game against Bentonville last spring.
Jenkins ran into some control trouble in the top of the fifth. Though she wound up striking out the side to give her 11 for the game, she issued three walks and hit Sanders to force in a run.
It was then that the Lady Hornets put the game away. Wilson drew a walk and Kaley Coppock singled to left. A free pass was issued to Yazza to load the bases for Stillman who worked a walk to bring Wilson home.
Jenna Bruick then got the game-breaking hit, pulling a single into right that was bobbled by Eryn Tracy. Coppock and Yazza scored on the play with Stillman taking third and Bruick sprinting into second. Rice’s sacrifice fly made it 10-3 and, after Taylor reached on an error, Jenkins flew out to left for a sacrifice that got Bruick home.
That brought up Sory who blasted a 1-0 pitch to deep left that Belles’ outfielder Claire Gibby appeared to have a chance to catch but the ball kept carrying and cleared the fence to make it a 10-and-five victory.
Jenkins wound up allowing just two hits in the game.
In the second contest (with Mount playing as the home team since it was make-up date from a rainout), the Lady Hornets scored seven times in each of the first two innings to make it an early rout.
Bruick’s speed produced the first run. She walked to start the game then Rice got a bunt down that resulted in wild throw to first. Bruick was able to score all the way from first on the play.
Walks to Taylor and Jenkins loaded the bases and Sory got the second run home with a bouncer to second. Cassidy Wilson followed with a shot to left-center for a two-run single.
After Coppock ripped a single up the middle and a wild pitch sent runners to second and third, Yazza picked up an RBI with a groundout and Stillman beat out a slow roller to second to get Coppock home.
Stillman stole second, took third on a wild pitch and scored on an error as Bruick reached to complete the uprising.
Mount St. Mary got its lone run in the bottom of the inning when Harper belted a one-out double and scored on a single by Sanders. Sory, Bryant’s pitcher in game two allowed only a scratch single in the third to Harper the rest of the way, setting down 14 of the last 15 batters she faced including seven on strikes to give her eight for the game.
The struggles for Sanders, the Belles’ starter in game two, really took hold in the second with five walks. A pair of errors didn’t help her either. The Lady Hornets managed two hits in the inning but both were productive. Coppock’s second single drove in a run and Jenkins knocked in two with a base hit to left.
In a four-run third, Wilson walked and advanced on a wild pitch then scored on a single up the middle by Yazza. Stillman walked and Bruick slapped an RBI hit to left. Rice walked to load the bases and Taylor shot a single through the infield to plate Stillman. Bruick trotted home when Jenkins was hit by a pitch, making it 18-1.
Bryant coach Debbie Clark subbed on almost every at-bat after that. Brittney Ball had a single in the fourth then the Lady Hornets produced a run in the fifth on an error that allowed Stephanie Cyz to reach then walks to Brooke Howell, Breanna Sanders and McKenzie Rice.