Cason’s defensive gem lifts Bryant
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RUSSELLVILLE — With the Bryant Lady Hornets clinging to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning on Thursday, March 15, the Russellville Lady Cyclones were threatening to score. By virtue of the international tiebreaker rule, the inning started with Emily Keener at second base. The next batter, Cora Johnson, hit a grounder on the infield and Bryant had gone for the out at third on the lead runner only to have her get in safely. So, there were no outs and runners at the corners when Lauren Sisson got down a bunt toward Bryant first baseman Lindsey Cason and it looked like the game would be tied.
But Cason charged in, fielded the ball, tagged out Sisson and made a quick toss to catch Randie Juliusson for a spectacular doubleplay that deflated the Lady Cyclones’ hopes. The Lady Hornets retired the next batter and escaped with the win, improving to 14-2-1 overall and 3-0 in the 7A-Central Conference. Russellville fell to 4-9 and 0-2.
Tyler Cox pitched the shutout, allowing just two hits, striking out 11 and walking just one while she and her teammates were limited to four hits and two walks by Russellville’s Jessica Mabry.
It was a far cry from the 10-2 win the Lady Hornets recorded against the Lady Cyclones the previous Saturday at the Mount St. Mary’s Tournament in Sherwood. The game was scoreless until the top of the eighth. when Bonnie Stroud, starting at second, stole third then beat the throw to the plate on a grounder by Ashley Herndon to provide what proved to be the game’s only run.
Both teams had chances to score earlier. Christen Kirchner led off the game with an infield single, and stole second and third bases before the Russellville defense rose up.
Cyia Oliver and Cassidy McCollum were both hit by Cox in the bottom of the first, and both advanced on a wild pitch, before the inning fizzled.
Bryant had base runners again in the second when Juliusson delivered a two-out single to center and Stroud walked.
Russellville got its first hit of the ball game in the bottom of the third on Sisson’s infield single. She advanced to second on a wild pitch, but was stranded there.
The Lady Hornets threatened in the fourth on Laci Rowland’s two-out base hit and stolen base, and in the fifth, when Kirchner walked and stole second but, again, both were stranded.
Ashley Gee drew a walk for the Lady Cyclones in the bottom of the fifth, but courtesy runner Kelsey White was gunned down by Juliusson when she attempted to steal second.
Bryant got a lead-off single to left in the sixth from Kristen Dorsey, but she was caught stealing.
Russellville’s other hit came by way of a two-out double to left by McCollum in the bottom half of the sixth inning.