SHERIDAN — A rugged first inning kind of set the tone for the Bryant Lady Hornets on Monday night in their game against the Sheridan Lady Yellowjackets. And Bryant never recovered as Sheridan, excited to be finally opening its 2016 season, forged a 4-0 win.
The Lady Jackets’ Reagan Martin held Bryant to three hits without a walk and three strikeouts. She and the Sheridan defense retired the last 13 Bryant batters in a row.
Raven Loveless was the hard-luck starter for Bryant and allowed just five hits, though one of those was a solo home run by Maggie Hicks.
Sheridan is coming off back-to-back trips to the Class 6A State championship game, though the Lady Jackets lost both finals.
The Lady Hornets, now 4-2 on the season, appeared to be off to a good start when table-setters Regan Ryan and Shayla McKissock reached base in the top of the first. Ryan walked and McKissock beat out an infield hit.
With one out, Julie Ward sacrificed them to second and third but Martin got out of the jam with a strikeout of Macey Jaramillo.
In the bottom of the inning, Hicks reached on an error, went to second on a sacrifice bunt then scored when Corbin Talbert grounder was misplayed. And, as it turned out, aided by another error on the play, Talbert circled the bases make it 2-0.
Charlie Names singled but Loveless got out of the inning by inducing consecutive comebackers.
Neither team mustered a base-runner in the second. The Lady Hornets then made some noise in the third when, with one out, Ryan beat out a single and McKissock slapped a base hit to left.
Martin fanned Sarah Evans, however, then Ryan was caught trying to steal third to end the inning.
Regan Ryan and Shayla led off first and third innings, both getting on base back to back,” noted Lady Hornets coach Lisa Dreher. “A combination of a mental error and poor pitch selection shut down both innings scoreless.
“We just need to work on our approach at the plate,” she added. “It’s important for them to know what they want, hitting. I’m not sure many of them do.”
Hicks led off the bottom of the third with her homer to right but Loveless set down the next three.
Bryant went in order in the top of the fourth and, despite another error, Sheridan was unable to muster anything in the home half.
In the fifth, however, Hicks singled with one out and Kylee Williamson lined a 2-2 pitch for a single to left that allowed Hicks to score, though Williamson was thrown out by left-fielder Maddie Stephens when she tried to stretch to second.
Martin and the Sheridan defense did the rest.
“We have to learn how to handle adversity,” Dreher emphasized. “There’s not a quick fix for that. It will have to be learned as our season progresses.”
The Lady Hornets will try to bounce back on Friday when they host the Lake Hamilton Lady Wolves. It’s a chance to avenge their only other loss this season, a 3-2 setback suffered last Saturday in a tournament hosted by Sylvan Hills.