Kirchner, Cox spark Bryant past Clarksville in extras
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
It looked like the Clarksville Lady Panthers would escape to play another inning again in their game with the Bryant Lady Hornets on Monday, March 5.
After working out of a bases-loaded jam with one out in the bottom of the seventh, the Lady Panthers found themselves in a similar position in the bottom of the eighth. Bryant’s Kristin Dorsey had started the inning at second (in accordance with the international tiebreaker rule). She advanced to third on a bunt by Laci Rowland. The Lady Panthers chose to hold her there rather than make a play on Rowland who scampered all the way around to second. And when Ashley Herndon followed with another bunt, again, Clarksville fielded the ball and held Dorsey at second.
So the bases were loaded again with no one out. But Bryant’s juicy chance to push across the winning run took a downturn when Hailey King’s bunt stayed in the air for Clarksville pitcher Haley McCormick to snag. She quickly threw to third to catch Dorsey trying to get back, resulting a double play.
Suddenly, the Lady Hornets had gone from bases loaded and no outs to runners at first and second and two outs.
But the next pitch turned the tables back around as Christen Kirchner blasted one over the fence in right for a three-run homer and the victory, capping off a dominating eight-inning no-hitter by Bryant pitcher Tyler Cox.
The win improved the Lady Hornets to 8-1-1 on the season, going into a home game with Lake Hamilton on Tuesday, March 6, their final tune-up before starting conference play against Mount St. Mary’s on Thursday, March 8.
Cox struck out 15 batters, walked just two and hit one in the victory. Clarksville never got a baserunner past second including the top of the eighth with the tiebreaker starting someone there. And she was picked off.
In the first, Cox issued a walk to Brooke Hurley, the lead-off batter. She advance on a wild pitch but was caught in a rundown between second and third and tagged out. Sara Harvey then reached on a third-strike wild pitch and stole second but Cox and her teammates then retired 14 in a row and 20 of the next 22 batters.
Cox pitched around a lead-off walk in the sixth with the help of Kirchner in right who charged in to field a grounder between first and second to throw out the batter at first.
In the seventh, Cox struck out the side around a hit batter.
In the eighth, after the lead runner was picked off at second, Cox recorded her 15th strikeout then gave up another hard grounder to right. But again Kirchner charged and came up firing to first baseman Lindsey Cason for the out to end the inning.
The Lady Hornets fared little better against McCormick. Randie Juliusson had Bryant’s only hits besides Kirchner’s blast. She singled to lead off the second but was thrown out trying to steal second. She led off the fifth with a shot past third. Cason sacrificed her to second but when Sarah Hart’s blooper fell in front of Clarksville’s second baseman Tiera Chenault, McCormick picked up the loose ball and threw to second, catching the baserunner trying to get back to the bag.
The Lady Hornets’ threat in the seventh began with Kirchner reaching base on an error. She stole second and took third on a passed ball. With one out, Juliusson’s bunt was fielded but Clarksville chose to hold Kirchner at third instead of making a play on the batter. Juliusson proceeded to second without a play. Cason was hit by a pitch to load the bases but McCormick and the Lady Panthers got out of the inning with a strikeout and a fly to right.