By Bridget Bauer
Not until the third inning did the Bryant Lady Hornets tally their first run Thursday against 7A foe Van Buren. They were able to score in the remaining frames and scooted to a 5-1 victory.
Freshman Raven Loveless notched the pitching win and scattered five hits, walked three and struck out three. She helped her performance with a 2-of-3 outing at the plate with one run batted in. Junior Miranda Mayfield and seniors Abby Staton and Cayla McDowell also contributed 2-of-3 showings at the plate with Mayfield slapping a double and an RBI single, McDowell hitting two singles with one RBI and Staton also singling twice. Junior Julie Ward recorded a two-run single and sophomore Mallory Theel also reached first on a one-base hit.
“Van Buren has not lost a game in conference, has a great record and is well coached,” Bryant Coach Debbie Clark said. “Raven grows up every time, and I tell the freshmen they aren’t freshmen anymore.”
Clark said the emphasis against Van Buren was to focus on gaining the momentum and to not score in every inning which has been the Lady Hornets’ goal in past games. Bryant (11-1, 7-0 6A/7A-Central) scored first in the bottom of the third inning for a 1-0 lead with the Pointerettes knotting the contest in the top of the fourth. After that, the Lady Hornets tallied one run in each the fourth and fifth stanzas before recording two in the sixth frame.
“After they tied it, I asked the girls what they felt,” Clark said. “They said they could feel the momentum shift. We wanted to keep the momentum with us and not focus on scoring every inning.”
Bryant took the initial lead in the third inning after Staton singled and scored on McDowell’s one-base hit. The run in the fourth frame which gave the Lady Hornets the advantage for good occurred after Mayfield doubled and went home on Loveless’ single. In the fifth, Jordan Williams walked and went home on Mayfield’s one-base hit. Ward’s two-RBI single in the sixth inning completed Bryant’s scoring.
With injuries and other situations, the Lady Hornets have experimented with their lineup and are playing young players. Clark has the luxury of several options in several positions.
The Lady Hornets are now alone in first place in the conference overall and among the 7A teams in the league. They’re set for a doubleheader at Russellville on Friday against the 6A Lady Cyclones then over the weekend, they’re scheduled to compete in the Spring Hill Tournament in Hope, which was postponed by rain earlier in the season.