After rough start, Bryant rolls to win
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
When the Little Rock Catholic Rockets scored three times in the top of the first inning of their game against the Bryant Hornets Friday at Hornets Field, it would’ve been understandable if the Hornets had thought, “Well, here we go again.”
Coming into the contest, Bryant had suffered four losses in five games and, though all but one of the losses had been narrow defeats against quality teams, no one wanted to think that a trend might be developing.
The Hornets dashed any such ideas with a six-run home first on the way to a 22-3 romp in a five-inning game that featured the first home run hit at the Hornets’ spacious new ballpark. It was a solo shot in the bottom of the third by Luke Brown.
Zach Martin had two hits and three runs batted in to lead the Hornets’ offense. Beau Hamblin also had two hits as 18 Bryant players got into the game.
Lefty Brad Chism improved to 2-1 on the season, going the distance and allowing just three hits, though he walked six. Catholic’s three-run first included just one of those hits — an infield single to start the inning. An error extended the inning and the Bryant hurler issued three of those walks along the way.
Bryant, meanwhile, benefitted from four Catholic errors in the bottom of the inning — eight in the game. Lead-off man Matt Brown reached on the first boot. Dustin Morris followed with a walk and Cody Graddy singled to load the bags for Luke Brown. With an 0-2 count, Luke Brown’s bouncer to third was misplayed.
Hamblin followed with another grounder to third that was kicked then drew a wild throw to first.
With the game tied, Brandon Nichols was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Luke Brown scored when Matt White grounded into a force at second (beating the rap at first to avoid the doubleplay).
White then swiped second and drew a wild throw that allowed Hamblin to score. White, who wound up at third, scored on a wild pitch to make it 6-3.
After Chism retired the Rockets in order in the second, walks to Graddy and Luke Brown opened the bottom of the inning and ended the mound work of Catholic starter Mark Ewersmann. The new hurler Justin Myers was greeted by Hamblin’s RBI single.
After Nichols lined out to third and White popped to short, Derrick Chambers worked for a walk to load the bases for Martin who drilled a double down the left-field line to plate two runs.
Matt Brown followed with an RBI single to make it 10-3.
Chism worked around a one-out single in the top of the third and the Hornets erupted for seven runs on six hits in the bottom of the inning highlighted by Luke Brown’s blast with one out. Chambers later contributed a two-run single with the bases loaded and Martin singled in another run. Two scored when Dustin Morris’ lined single to right was misplayed. Morris then scored on a double by Graddy to make it 17-3.
Chism walked a pair in the fourth but stranded both runners. Bryant’s five-run fourth was aided by three more Catholic errors and a pair of walks. Kevin Littleton, Matt Nugent and Clay Jones each reached on errors with one out. With two down, Scott Yant and Jackson Moseley each drew RBI walks before Cody Dreher cleared the bases with a three-run double.
Richard O’Brien, who had two of Catholic’s three hits, singled with one out in the fifth and, with two down, Adam Hall walked, but Chism ended the game by striking out Taylor Staley.