CABOT — Bryant Lady Hornets coach Lisa Stanfield shuffled her batting order for her team's game against the Cabot Lady Panthers on Thursday, March 19. The result was a big first inning which proved to be just enough as they claimed a 4-2 victory.
Bryant, 4-3 overall and 3-1 in the 7A-Central Conference, came into the league game after suffering their first 7A-Central loss at home against Conway on Tuesday, March 17, 6-4 in eight innings.
It wasn't until late in that game that the offense came to life so Stanfield was pleased with the good start against Cabot. "It's something that's been lacking," she acknowledged, "starting the game off hitting the ball and getting people on base. I put some of our more powerful hitters towards the top. We've still got some offensive things to straighten out but we're looking a lot better each game, on paper and during the game."
The Lady Hornets pounded out five hits in that first inning, four of them for extra bases. But, after that, they only managed three singles, two of them by freshman Peyton Jenkins who had three hits on the day.
Hot-hitting Cassidy Wilson started the game with a triple. Kayla Sory drove her in with a double. With one out, Christen Kirchner cracked a two-bagger to make it 2-0. With two way, Kim Wilson doubled and Jenkins singled her home for the 4-0 lead.[more]
Jenkins and Jenna Bruick each singled in the fourth but were stranded.
Meanwhile, Kirchner was holding Cabot without a hit through the first three innings, working around an error in the first and another in the second. In the third, Tara Boyd was hit by a pitch and advanced on a passed ball. With one out, Becca Bakalikos walked but was thrown out trying to steal by Bryant catcher Sarah Hart. Boyd made it to third but was stranded when Kirchner got the next batter, Kristi Flesher to ground out to second.
Pete Boyd doubled with two out in the bottom of the fourth but was stranded thanks to a Kirchner strikeout. In the fifth, Cherie Barfield doubled to lead things off for the Lady Panthers. She was sacrificed to third but Kirchner fanned the next two to keep her there and preserve the 4-0 lead.
Jenkins singled with two out in the sixth and stole second but was left on, setting the stage for a Cabot rally in the bottom of the inning. Consecutive singles by Flesher, Chelsea Conrade, Brooke Taylor and Jenny Reed produced two runs before Kirchner got the first out of the inning on strikes. A wild play ensued in which third sacker Jessie Taylor fielded a grounder and threw home for a force and, after whipping the ball around the infield trying to get a second out, the Lady Hornets got it down to end the inning with a two-run lead intact.
"It was crazy," Stanfield recounted. "We threw it to every single base, to the wrong places. I told them afterwards that it wasn't their brains that made that play, it was athleticism. We were literally all over the place, throwing and catching. We messed up but it ended up working out."
So the game went to the bottom of the seventh still 4-2. Kirchner struck out the first two before Bakalikos singled. The Cabot runner got no further, however, as Kirchner induced a game-ending bouncer to second.