By Bridget Bauer
For the second time in two days, the Bryant Lady Hornets secured a one-run victory over a 7A foe.
In Tuesday’s 6A/7A-Central conference matchup, the Lady Hornets (8-1, 4-0) defeated Conway, 2-1. On Monday, they defeated two-time defending Class 7A State champion North Little Rock by the same margin.
The two outcomes were different as Bryant tallied two runs in the top of the first against North Little Rock that stood. Against Conway, the Lady Hornets tallied one run in the bottom of the first and secured its second run in the bottom of the seventh for the triumph.
“I’m emotionally drained after two big wins in two days,” Bryant Coach Debbie Clark said. “I think the girls feed off me. I told them I like 10-0 wins better.”
Freshman Raven Loveless notched the win and gave up the one run on three hits, walked one batter and struck out two. Conway’s lone run came on a solo home run by Kaylee St. John in the fourth frame. Loveless only allowed five Conway batters to get on base, and one of those occurred on an error in the first.
“She did a good job but threw more pitches than she normally does,” Clark said. “They had more quality at-bats and fouled off more.”
Bryant only recorded five hits but was also able to take advantage of five Conway errors. The Lady Hornets’ first run in the bottom of the first came after Regan Ryan slapped a short hit to third base and beat out the throw. Abby Staton moved her to second on her bunt, and Ryan eventually came home of Cayla McDowell’s RBI single to left centerfield. McDowell added another single in the fifth, Loveless smacked a double in the fourth and Daniele Singleton also singled in the fourth.
“Our scouting report said their pitcher faded as time went on,” Clark said. “I think we were waiting for her to fade instead of playing our game.”
After Conway knotted the contest at 1-all in the fourth frame, Bryant had opportunities to score and stranded two baserunners in the bottom of the fourth and one in the fifth. Conway turned doubleplays in the both the fifth and sixth stanzas to keep the Lady Hornets from scoring. However, they used the short game to finally tally another run.
In the bottom of the seventh, Singleton walked to start the inning and advanced to second on Sarah Evans’ bunt down the first base line. Freshman Maddie Stephens, normally a courtesy runner, was in for Ryan, who hit her head trying to snag St. John’s home run. Stephens laid down a bunt towards first base that was fielded by the pitcher who overthrew first base sending Singleton home to give Bryant the victory.
“She’s a lefty and fast,” Clark said. “Our scouting report said their first baseman wasn’t as fast as their third baseman. We wanted to place our bunts to go to first base.”
The Lady Hornets’ next outing will be Friday against a 6A member of the Central Conference. The doubleheader at Alma will count in the league standings but neither game will have any affect on either team’s bid to qualify for their respective State tournaments.