ROGERS — The Bryant Lady Hornets got a chance to test themselves against a couple of the best teams in the 7A-West Conference on Saturday when they visited Rogers in the morning and Bentonville in the afternoon following their 7A/6A-Central Conference doubleheader in Alma on Friday night.
At Rogers, the Lady Hornets suffered six errors and managed just five hits in a 4-0 loss. Bryant pitcher Raven Loveless held the Lady Mounties to just three hits. All four runs were unearned.
At Bentonville, five more errors contributed to the Lady Tigers’ 9-4 victory.
“It was very beneficial for us to see that competition,” acknowledged Lady Hornets coach Lisa Dreher.
“We couldn’t adjust to the pitching in the loss (to Rogers),” she said. “Raven pitched outstanding. “I’m proud of Macey (Jaramillo). She got popped in the mouth in warm-ups versus Rogers and didn’t miss a beat.”
Regarding the errors, the coach said, “You just can’t beat the better teams like that. Anna (Turpin) pitched well enough for us to get a win.”
Turpin contributed 3 1/3 innings of three-hit relief allowing just one unearned run in the afternoon contest, coming in after Bentonville had built a 5-0 lead.
Bryant rallied to get within 6-4 going into the bottom of the sixth but a three-run uprising for Bentonville put the game away.
Loveless and Sarah Evans each had two hits in the second game. Meagan Chism drove in two runs.
In the early game, Regan Ryan led the team with two hits. Chism, Loveless and Julie Ward had a hit apiece.
Senior Maddie Massanelli pitched the shutout for Rogers. She gave up Ryan’s first hit with one out in the first. Her teammates gave her a 1-0 lead on an error, a stolen base and two groundouts in the home half.
Loveless doubled with one down in the second but was stranded.
She then pitched around a single and a two-out error in the bottom of the second.
But the Lady Hornets were retired in order in the top of the third and Rogers tacked on three more runs with the help of three errors. Massanellie contributed a single and Sarah Hulsey doubled in two.
Evans walked with one out in the fourth. She was the last base-runner for Bryant until the top of the sixth when the Lady Hornets loaded the sacks on singles from Ryan, Ward and Chism. But they were all stranded.
In the seventh, Maddie Stephens led off, reaching on an error but got no further than second before the Lady Mounties finished off the win.
Loveless and the Bryant defense retired the last seven Rogers batters and 10 of the last 11.
Payton Wildeman led Bentonville with three hits in the afternoon game. The Lady Tigers scored twice in the first with Wildeman contributing an RBI triple. She scored on a two-out error to make it 2-0.
The Lady Hornets managed their first base-runner in the top of the second when Loveless singled to no avail.
A two-run double by Haley Cornell highlighted Bentonville’s three-run second as the lead grew to 5-0.
Bryant got on the board in the third when Regan Keesee singled, was sacrificed to second by Evans, stole third then scored on Chism’s sacrifice fly. Shayla McKissock lined a two-out single to left but was left on.
Bentonville got the run back in the bottom of the third. Jordan Gartman doubled and was sacrificed to third. But on a bunt by Keelah Griffith, McKissock charged in from third, fielded the ball and threw home in time to nab Gartman for the second out.
Shayli Martin was struck by a pitch, however, then both runners moved up on a wild pitch. An errant throw allowed Griffith to score, making it 6-1.
Ward singled in the top of the fourth and stole second but got no further as Bentonville escaped. Turpin worked around a one-out single by Cornell in the bottom of the inning.
Evans singled to center with one out in the top of the fifth. After taking second on a wild pitch, she raced home on Chism’s double.
After Bentonville was stopped despite a single and a walk, Bryant’s rally continued in the top of the sixth. Jaramillo cracked a one-out single. Hennessae Shavers came on to run for her and picked up second when Loveless singled to left.
Stephens sacrificed them to second and third. An error on the play allowed both of them to score.
Bentonville’s clinching outburst in the sixth was sparked by a two-run triple by Tymber Riley.
The Lady Hornets, now 11-8 overall, return to league play in a crucial outing at home against Class 7A Van Buren on Tuesday.