Hornets subdue Stuttgart, 5-0
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).
The Bryant Hornets may be ranked No. 1 in the state but they know and head coach Terry Harper knows they aren’t playing their best baseball yet.
“By no means,” Harper emphasized. “By no stretch of the imagination are we even close. We’re pitching pretty good, the defense looks a lot better the last week and a half. We’ve just got to start hitting the ball a little better.
“We’re still finding a way to win,” he acknowledged. “That’s a mark of a good team. When we start hitting, though, we’ll be right where we want to be.”
Again on Tuesday, March 29, the Hornets found a way to win. Juniors Aaron Davidson and Danny Riemenschneider combined on a five-hit shutout as Bryant downed Stuttgart 5-0 at Hornets Field, the first home game for the team since Feb. 21, 16 games ago.
The win improved the Hornets to 12-6 this season, going into a string of games against former AAAAA-South Conference rivals, at Pine Bluff on Thursday, March 31, at home against El Dorado on Friday, April 1, and at home against Texarkana on Monday, April 4.
The Hornets then return to AAAAA-Central Conference action against Little Rock Central on Thursday, April 7. Bryant currently leads the league by a game at 3-0.
Davidson didn’t have his best stuff but he battled his way out of jams repeatedly. The closest thing he had to an easy inning was the first when his teammates turned a doubleplay to wipe out a lead-off single. Along with giving up the five hits, he walked five, hit a batter and struck out six.
After working out of bases-loaded jams in the fourth and fifth, Davidson issued a lead-off walk in the sixth then gave way to Riemenschneider who induced a doubleplay ball to take the starch out of the inning. He then got the final four outs on strikes.
The Hornets, who had seven hits in the game, two by Davidson, grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first off Stuttgart lefty Jett Jones. Todd Bryan walked and stole second. After reaching third on a passed ball, Bryan scored when Travis Wood chopped a single over the third baseman’s head.
Wood swiped second, one of six steals by the Hornets in the game, then scored on Davidson’s first hit, a bouncer to left.
In the third, Davidson beat out an infield hit with one out. Courtesy runner Travis Queck then manufactured a run. He swiped second then sprinted to third on a ball in the dirt that didn’t get too far from catcher Scott Lambert. And when Lambert rushed a throw to third, it sailed into left and Queck was able to trot home with the game’s third run.
In the fourth, Devin Hurt drew a one-out walk and stole second. With two down, Bryan chased him in with a long double to left-center.
The final run scored in the fifth. With two down, Bryan Griffith belted a long double to the gap in left-center. Zack Young followed with a single to drive him home.
“We’re striking out too much with men in scoring position,” Harper noted. “I think now the total’s up to about 59 times we’ve struck out with runners in scoring position. That’s one thing if we can eliminate, even if we can just put the ball in play, we score at least a fourth of those runs.
“We haven’t had a whole lot of live at-bats,” he noted. “We’ve been in the cage most of the time and you can only do so much there. I’m not doubting anybody’s effort. We talk a lot about being mentally focused. That’s been one of our problems. We’ll continue to plug away. With our pitching and defense, we’re going to be in every game.”