After four games in two days with travel to Alma, Rogers and Bentonville mixed in, the Bryant Lady Hornets were glad to be playing the Van Buren Lady Pointers at home on Tuesday night.
They were even happier to be able to notch an important 4-2 win, which made them 2-0 against Class 7A teams in the 7A/6A-Central Conference. Only the victories over 7A members of the league count towards Bryant qualifying for the Class 7A State Tournament, which the Lady Hornets will host.
Overall, they improved to 12-8. They are 3-1 against all conference foes so far with a league doubleheader at Greenwood set for Friday.
“We needed it,” acknowledged Bryant head coach Lisa Dreher. “We had a hard weekend physically, mentally. We not only needed the conference win, the girls just needed the win. They’ve been working very hard. We have a tough schedule and they’ve faced really tough competition. I’m just glad they’re receiving the reward for their hard work.”
Meagan Chism had two hits and Julie Ward drove in two runs for the Lady Hornets.
Raven Loveless and the Bryant defense blanked the Lady Pointers through five innings. Van Buren trailed 3-0 going into the sixth and scratched out a run that the Lady Hornets got back in the bottom of the inning. Another run in the top of the seventh made it 4-2 and the Lady Pointers brought the potential tying run to the plate before Loveless recorded her fifth strikeout to end it.
Bryant took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Shayla McKissock reached on an error but was forced at second on Regan Ryan’s grounder to third. After a walk to Ward, Ryan was thrown out at third on a double-steal attempt. But Ward made it to second and Sarah Evans singled her home.
Van Buren didn’t manage a hit until a two-out single by Caroline Davis. And it stayed 1-0 until the Bryant fifth. The Lady Hornets threatened in the fourth when Chism singled and Loveless doubled. Chism tried to score on Maddie Stephens’ grounder to short but was thrown out.
Natalie Scherry picked up the Lady Pointers’ second hit, a single, with one out in the top of the fifth but it came to naught.
Bryant’s fifth began with Macey Jaramillo reaching base on an error. McKissock slapped a single to left then both moved up on Ryan’s tap to pitcher McKennah Sikes. That set the table for Ward, who drilled a single to center to plate both runs.
Chism singled to center, sending Ward to third but both were stranded.
In the sixth, there were two down when Van Buren got something going. Sikes singled then Baylor Miles’ flyball was misplayed. Courtesy runner Hali Bartholomew scored on the play.
With Miles at second, however, Loveless got Emilee Aaron to groundout to McKissock at third to end the inning.
The Lady Hornets responded. Stephens and Mallory Theel each walked then Jaramillo singled in Stephens to make it 4-1. Bryant had runners at first and third with no one out but Van Buren escaped further damage.
The Lady Pointers’ seventh inning uprising began with Whitney Ellis getting struck by a 1-1 pitch. She advanced on Scherry’s grounder to third. Haley Hogan laced a double down the right-field line that was just fair, chasing home Ellis.
Kayleigh Evans came on to run for Hogan but when she tried to reach third on Jessica Smith’s tap back to Loveless, she was thrown out. Though Smith stole second to get into scoring position, Loveless fanned Davis to end it.