Bryant goes 10 to dismiss Van Buren
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RUSSELLVILLE — Senior Kristen Dorsey capped a thrilling comeback with a game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning as the Bryant Lady Hornets advanced to the Class 7A State tournament semifinals with a 4-3 win over the Van Buren Lady Pointers on Saturday, May 10, at Hickey Park.
The Lady Hornets notched their 20th win of the season and advanced to take on two-time defending State champion Fayetteville on Monday, May 12 (see related story). Bryant had a first round bye after finishing second in the 7A-Central Conference. Van Buren (third in the West) had dismissed Mount St. Mary’s, 10-0, on Friday to advance to play the Lady Hornets.
And the Lady Pointers held a 3-2 lead going into the bottom of the 10th. But Lindsey Cason led off the Bryant 10th win a single advancing Kristen Morehart to third (after she started the inning at second in accordance with the international tiebreaker). An out later, Morehart scored the tying run by hustling home on a grounder off the bat of Paige Turpin. Cason, who took second on the play, sprinted home with the game-winner on Dorsey’s hit.
It’s the fourth time in as many years and fifth time in the last seven seasons that Bryant has reached at least the semifinals at State.
The two teams were scoreless through three innings with a hit apiece. In the fourth, Van Buren took the lead on a double, a sacrifice and a two-out error. But the Lady Hornets answered in the bottom of the frame. Christen Kirchner doubled, took third on a grounder by Sarah Hart and scored on a bouncer by Cason.
The game stayed 1-1 through the end of regulation play. In the eighth, Van Buren made its first bid to win it by pushing across a run but the Lady Hornets had an answer again in the bottom of the inning to stay alive. Mo McDaniel singled with Morgan Seelinger coming on to pinch-run. She stole second, took thing on a passed ball and scored on a groundout.
In the top of the ninth, the Lady Pointers again made a bid to take the lead, loading the bases with no one out. Kirchner struck out a batter then second baseman Kim Wilson made a leaping catch of a line drive. A quick throw to first doubled off the runner there and the Lady Hornets were out of the inning.
Though they were unable to take advantage of the momentum switch immediately, going down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth, the dramatic 10th awaited. Van Buren regained the lead on a sacrifice that sent the runner starting at second to third then a single brought in the go-ahead run and set the stage for the Lady Hornets’ decisive at-bat.