Hornets hammer ’Dogs at State
EDITOR’S NOTE: In this time of COVID-19, with no sports action, BryantDaily.com will be 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
VAN BUREN — The Bryant Hornets’ first-round game at the Class 7A State Tournament couldn’t have gone much better. A seven-run outburst in the bottom of the first inning after it had only taken starting pitcher seven pitches to get through the top of the frame, vaulted the Hornets to a 13-0 romp in five innings over the Springdale Bulldogs at Field of Dreams Athletic Complex on Friday, May 4.
“That’s kind of what you want,” acknowledged head coach Terry Harper. “They came out and did what we talked about, hit like we did two or three weeks ago and it gave us a chance to get out of the game early and save us a little pitching.”
Indeed, starter Ryan Wilson pitched a one-hit shutout, walked just three and hit a batter while fanning four Bulldogs.
Springdale’s lone hit was a two-out bloop single to right by Corey Pless in the second. It came after a walk to Will Smith but Wilson preserved the shutout by striking out Ben Miller to end the inning.
In the third, he worked around a lead-off walk and a one-out hit batsman, inducing a pop to second by Brandon Johnson and a routine fly to left. He allowed only one other baserunner in the game on a one-out walk in the top of the fifth.
“Ryan did a good job,” Harper commented. “He’s getting back, doing a lot better.”
Earlier in the season, Wilson missed a lot of playing time and pitched very little due to a strained lap muscle under his right arm. The win gave him a 4-1 record on the season as the Hornets improved to 16-11 going into a second-round game against Fort Smith Southside on Saturday, May 5, with ace lefty Trent Daniel fresh and ready to take the mound.
“We only had to use one guy and he can probably come back Monday, if he has to,” Harper said of his pitcher. “We made plays and we were pretty good at the plate all day.”
Joey Winiecki started Bryant’s first-inning eruption with a single up the middle. Tyler Pickett, after failing to get down a bunt, fouled off a trio of two-strike pitches and worked Springdale starter Jeremy Paxton for a walk.
Jake Jackson did get a bunt down but when no one covered first for the Bulldogs he got a base hit out of it, loading the bases. Paxton then issued a four-pitch free pass to Cody Walker to force in the game’s first run.
Jordan Knight made it 2-0 with a sacrifice fly then Trent Daniel doubled in a run and Tyler Sawyer singled to plate another. David Guarno’s sacrifice fly made it 5-0 before Wilson delivered an RBI double, taking third on a late throw to the plate as Sawyer scored. He scored to cap the inning when Winiecki’s grounder to second was booted — the first of five Springdale errors in the abbreviated contest.
In the second, Walker reached base on a one-out error and scored on a triple by Knight to make it 8-0.
The Hornets loaded the bases with two down in the third but didn’t score. In the fourth, however, they struck five times to put the 10-after-five run-rule in effect.
Knight’s second hit, a single, started the outburst and, on a hit-and-run, Daniel found a hole for his second safety, sending Knight to third.
A walk to Alex Kehrees loaded the bases for Guarno who delivered his second sac-fly of the contest.
Wilson’s second run-scoring hit made it 10-0. Michael Haydon came on to pinch-hit. His grounder to second drew a wild throw allowing Kehrees to score from second as Wilson took third.
Things went from bad to worse for the Bulldogs as relief pitcher Michael Upton dropped the ball while he was standing on the rubber resulting in a balk that allowed courtesy runner Anthony Raby to score. With two down, Jackson’s fly to shallow right was dropped and Haydon scoredl the final run of the game.