By Bridget Bauer
EL DORADO — Pounding out 16 hits and scoring in the first and last innings, the Bryant Lady[more] Hornets defeated the El Dorado Lady Wildcats, 7-3, Tuesday at the El Dorado/Union County Recreation Complex.
Kaley Coppock and Makayla Nguyen highlighted the Lady Hornets’ hitting barrage with 3-of-4 performances. Bryant (8-7, 4-2 6A-South) scored five runs in the first inning, and Nguyen sparked the frame with her three-run home run.
“This was a really big win for us,” Bryant Coach Debbie Clark said. “This was a must-win for us. Because of the power ratings, every conference game we lose hurts us.”
With Breanna Sanders out at shortstop because of an illness, Clark not only replaced her but also made some other changes in the lineup. One of them was putting Nguyen in the designated hitter spot for centerfielder Shayla McKissock. Mercedes Dillard played shortstop and Sydney Gogus, the normal DH, caught thus moving Julie Ward to right field.
“I’m trying to get as many players back-to-back that give us the best opportunity to get something going,” Clark said. “We scored in the seventh inning, and that was good. We still aren’t scoring in every inning like I wish.”
Kayla Jolley picked up the pitching win yielding nine hits, striking out one batter but, more importantly walking no one. Five other players added two hits each, Katy Stillman, Jolley, Gogus, Ward and Carly Yazza.
In the first frame, Stillman led off with Bryant’s only other extra-base hit, a double. Jolly followed with a single, which scored Stillman, and Jolley’s courtesy runner, Nikki Clay, sprinted home on Yazza’s single. Brianna Davis walked, and both scored on Nguyen’s blast.
El Dorado tallied all three of its runs in the second inning and was aided by an error. The Lady Wildcats led off with a double and consecutive singles, and an error by Gogus allowed them to notch their first run. Clark said the error was a situation of Gogus still learning the catcher position and was something that could be fixed.
The 5-3 margin stood until the seventh stanza when Bryant added two insurance runs. Coppock, Gogus and Yazza led off with singles, and Nguyen followed with a fourth consecutive single that scored Gogus’ courtesy runner, Sierra Jones. Yazza went home on Ward’s sacrifice fly.
Jolley then retired the side in the bottom of the seventh for the victory.
The Lady Hornets visit Benton on Friday.