Guarno muscles Bryant past Cabot
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
Home runs at Bryant Hornets Field are usually few and far between. The fences are deep and the ball doesn’t carry very well most of the time.
And as rare as they are, two in one game? Unheard of.
But, on Thursday, March 20, David Guarno managed it, muscling up for a pair of two-run shots to highlight the Hornets’ 11-1 romp in five innings over the Cabot Panthers.
The game not only served as a 7A-Central Conference contest but as a first-round game in the annual Billy Bock Memorial Tournament, the rest of which was being played at Taylor Field in Pine Bluff.
Bryant improved to 7-1 overall and, more importantly, 2-0 in league play. The Bock tournament which was to conclude on Saturday, March 22, would wrap up their play before spring break. On Monday, March 31, they were set to host the rival Benton Panthers before traveling to North Little Rock on the next day for another conference tilt.
Right-hander Tyler Sawyer was the beneficiary of the the Hornets’ offensive eruption, improving to 3-1 on the season. Over the five innings, he scattered seven hits and a walk while fanning five.
Sawyer was also aided by catcher Kaleb Jobe, who had been struggling with his throwing a bit this season. But Jobe gunned down two would-be base stealers for the Panthers. Sawyer picked off another.
Cabot put together a pair of hits and a walk in the first but thanks in part to the pickoff, Sawyer kept them off the board.
In the bottom of the inning the first four Bryant batters reached base and six of the first seven as they grabbed a 3-0 lead. Jake Jackson greeted Cabot starter Matt Evans with a solid double to the gap in left-center. Trent Daniel singled to send Jackson to third then got in a rundown between first and second, and stayed in it long enough for his teammate to score.
A walk to Sawyer got things going again. Cody Walker singled, Jobe was issued a two-out walk and Jordan Knight clashed a single to right to chase home two.
Ben Wainwright led off the second for Cabot with a single but when courtesy runner Joe Bryant tried to steal, Jobe threw him out. Sawyer retired the next two.
In the third, Trey Rosel led off for the Panthers with a bunt that third-sacker Anthony Raby made a nice play on to get the out. With two down, Evans singled but he was stranded when Sawyer fanned Drew Burks.
In the bottom of the third, Sawyer singled but courtesy runner Justin Blankenship left a little too early on a steal and attempt and Evans threw to second to retire him. Walker followed with a single, however, and Guarno unloaded on the first delivery he got, clearing the left-field fence to make it 5-0.
Cabot managed its lone run in the top of the fourth when Sam Bates doubled and Wainwright singled him in. Again, Joe Bryant came on to run and tried to steal only to have Jobe gun him out.
Evans worked around a one-out single to Jackson in the bottom of the inning and Sawyer retired the side in the fifth around a one-out infield hit by Rosel. On a wild pitch and subsequent wild throw, Rosel reached third with the top of the Cabot order coming up. But Sawyer struck out Powell Bryant and Evans to end the threat.
Walker drew a walk to start the bottom of the inning and Evans gave way to lefty Sean Clarkson. Guarno looked at strike then drove Clarkson’s second pitch down the left-field line, clearing the fence just inside the foul pole for his second two-run jack.
The Hornets went on to score four more in the inning to earn the run-rule victory. Jackson drew a bases-loaded walk to account for a run and, after another pitching change, Daniel knocked in two with a single to right. Sawyer’s base hit up the middle chased in Jackson to end it.