Hornets knock off Z’s, claim share of league lead
EDITOR’S NOTE: Because the look back at each day in Bryant athletic history has been so favorably received during the time when there was no sports during the COVID-19 shutdown, BryantDaily.com will continue posting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on BryantDaily.com (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).
By ROB PATRICK
CAMDEN — Going into their Thursday, March 14, AAAAA-South Conference meeting, the Camden Fairview Cardinals had one thing that the Bryant Hornets did not:
A conference victory.
The Hornets, coming off a disappointing 10-2 loss to arch-rival Benton in their league opener at home, remedied that situation in a big way, however, by trouncing the Cardinals 13-0 in five innings.
Senior right-hander Chance King improved to 3-0 with a three-hit shutout on a day that, according to head coach Terry Harper, he didn’t have his best stuff. He walked five and fanned two but forced Fairview to strand seven runners in the five frames.
Offensively, the Hornets banged out 10 hits including a 3-for-3 day for third-sacker Jeff Carpenter. Matt White and B.J. Wood had two hits each. White drove in three.
Fairview didn’t manage a hit against King until the fourth inning when Justin Wylie singled to left to lead off the inning. By that time, Bryant had a 7-0 lead. The Hornets broke the scoreless tie in the top of the third when White was hit by a pitch, swiped second and raced home on Wood’s double to right-center. Cody Graddy followed with a shot that split the wickets on third baseman Nick Weaver and Wood scored to make it 2-0.
In the third, Carpenter’s second single started a five-run eruption. Kevin Littleton placed a sacrifice bunt down then A.J. Nixon blooped a single to left on which Carpenter was unable to advance. But Carpenter got a good look at Cody Dreher’s shallow pop to left that dropped in and scored from second. After a pitching change, Nixon and Dreher worked a double steal and Scott Yant drew a walk to load the bases for White who slashed a long double to right-center, plating two more.
Wood singled in Yant and White scored on a sacrifice fly by Graddy to make it 7-0.
King had worked around a two-out walk in the first and a pair of walks in the third. Trouble was averted in that third when Graddy gunned down speedy Je’an Burton trying to swipe second ahead of the second walk.
In the fourth, however, Fairview finally got its first hit. After Wood, at second, robbed clean-up man Aaron Williams on a hit on a liner to his left, King issued a two-out walk to Cory Anderson and a single to right by Mark Patterson, loading the bases.
Weaver came to the plate and grounded to the right side. First baseman Derek Chambers flashed for the play but couldn’t come up with the ball. Wood, however, had ranged over to field it behind him. King had alertly gotten off the mound in good shape to cover first and took the throw on the run from Wood beating Weaver to the bag for the final out.
The Hornets then proceeded to make it a blowout with six runs in the top of the fifth. Again Carpenter singled to get things going. Littleton drew a walk and Fairview turned to their third pitcher, Tyler Whitley, a left-hander with a most unusual follow through. Whitley finished every pitch with the top of his head pointed directly at the ground and his face directed at second.
Nixon, Dreher and Jackson Moseley each waited out walks with the latter two forcing runners home. Nixon scored on a wild pitch to make it 10-0 then White blooped a single to right to drive in Dreher.
Moseley, who stopped at third on White’s single, scored when White induced a balk from Whitley, making it 11-0.
White took third on Wood’s long fly to right then Graddy beat out an infield hit on which White had to hold at third. But courtesy runner Zack Cardinal got into a rundown between first and second, allowing White to score.
Burton led off the bottom of the fifth with Fairview’s third hit but an out later, was forced at second on Bo Smith’s bouncer to short. Nick McCaskill walked but when Williams bounced into a force at second the game was over.
The Hornets finished with five steals in the game, giving the team 46 in 12 games this season going into Friday’s showdown with unbeaten Pine Bluff.