The Bryant Blue (Bethel) Hornets eighth grade team scored on six of their eight possessions as they rolled to a 46-6 thumping of the Rose City Chiefs on the muddy field at Bryant Stadium Thursday night.
Quarterback Dakota Besancon hit 6 of 9 passes for 108 yards and a pair of touchdowns, both to Davis Nossaman who had four grabs altogether for 94 yards.
Running back Bryce Denker rushed just eight times for 84 yards and two scores. Reserves Blake Nesbitt and Matt Mears also ran for touchdowns.
Bryant held Rose City to a net of 85 yards of offense with 54 of that coming on runs of 21 yards by quarterback Markevius Williams and 33 yards by running back Jamal Doss.[more]
Besancon and Nossaman’s first hookup was a 46 yard strike less than two minutes into the game.
After Bryant’s defense forced a three-and-out with Mears and Denker dropping Williams for a loss on second down and Scott Mead hauling him down for another loss on third down, the Hornets drove for another score with the 27-yard pass from Besancon to Nossaman the big play. Denker capped the drive with a 7 yard run. He then added a run for the two-point conversion for the second time to make it 16-0.
Rose City moved the ball from its own 44 to the Bryant 32 but Joshua Chiles sacked Williams then Chase Christy tackled Doss for a loss and the Chiefs wound up turning the ball over on downs with 5:02 left in the half.
They got a second chance, however, when Christopher Baker intercepted a Besancon pass. The Chiefs picked up a first down at the Bryant 39 but then went backwards. First Ian Shuttleworth and Mears tackled Williams for a loss then Doss was stopped for no gain by Tanner Gullett and Jacob Irby. On third down, Amador Gaspar tracked down the Rose City quarterback for a loss of 7.
And when the snap on the Chiefs’ punt attempt sailed over Martavious Strozier’s head, the result was a loss of 20, giving Bryant the ball just 29 yards away from another score with 1:17 left in the half.
On first down, Besancon pitched to Denker who pulled up and threw 18 yards to Nossaman. From the 11, Besancon hit Spencer Kilgore at the 4 and, from there, another throw to Nossaman got it in the end zone.
Another Denker run for two made it 24-0 with just 43 seconds left in the half.
Bryant got the ball to start the third quarter and drove 70 yards in four plays for more. Denker broke a 30-yard run to set up the touchdown which came on a 37-yard burst by the running back. He added another run for 2 and it was 32-0.
Rose City finally got on the board when Williams scampered 17 yards for a touchdown two plays into the fourth quarter, capping a drive that went 57 yards in 11 plays. The touchdown run came just moments after Daniel Castleberry, Josh Farnsworth and Mears sacked Williams.
The Chiefs’ try for two failed.
The teams then traded turnovers as Blue head coach Donaven Sims began to work in reserves. Derrick Holloway recovered a Bryant fumble at the Hornets’ 24 but, after two plays for losses courtesy of Tucker Dodson, Tanner Rich and Gullett, Trevor Ezell picked off a pass.
That set up Blake Nesbitt’s 40-yard touchdown gallop with 2:06 left in the game. Nesbitt added the two-point conversion run.
On the next play from scrimmage, Conner Wooten intercepted a Rose City throw and returned it to the 4. Mears scored the final touchdown of the game from there.
BRYANT BLUE 46, ROSE CITY 6
Score by quarters
Rose City 0 0 0 6 — 6
Bryant Blue 16 8 8 14 — 46
BRYANT BLUE — Nossaman 46 pass from Besancon (Denker run), 5:45
BRYANT BLUE — Denker 7 run (Denker run), 1:28
BRYANT BLUE — Nossaman 4 pass from Besancon (Denker run), 0:43.1
BRYANT BLUE — Denker 37 run (Denker run), 5:20
ROSE CITY — Williams 21 run (pass failed), 6:04
BRYANT BLUE — Nesbitt 40 run (Nesbitt run), 2:06
BRYANT BLUE — Mears 4 run (pass failed), 1:26
First downs 9 11
Rushes-yards 30-58 15-131
Passing 3-7-2 7-10-1
Passing yds 27 126
Punts-avg 1-19.0 0-00.0
Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-1
Penalties-yds 2-20 1-10
Rushing: BRYANT, Denker 8-84, Nesbitt 1-40, Mears 2-9, Besancon 3-0, Reed 1-(-2); ROSE CITY, Doss 11-67, Strozier 7-(-1), Williams 12-(-8).
Passing (C-A-I-Y): BRYANT, Besancon 6-9-1-108, Denker 1-1-0-18; ROSE CITY, Williams 3-7-2-27.
Receiving: BRYANT, Davis 4-94, Denker 1-18, Christy 1-7, Kilgore 1-7; ROSE CITY, Holloway 2-17, Martin 1-10.
CONWAY — Bryant Blue’s Davis Nossaman and Jacob Irby knocked Conway Courtway’s Quenton Wyrick out of bounds at the 1-yard line to spoil a 2-point conversion attempt with 1:16 left to play on Thursday night. The play saved the Hornets’ 14-12 victory over the Kittens in the eighth-grade game at Centennial Bank Field at John McConnell Stadium.
The Blue team (from Bethel Middle School) improved to 4-1 on the season with the victory.[more]
Wyrick proved to be slippery for the Hornets to handle all night. Though he rushed for just 46 yards on 12 carries and caught four passed for 37 yards, it came despite the fact that Bryant Blue’s defensive line seemed to constantly be in the Kittens’ backfield. The Hornets struggled to bring him down. Wyrick constantly turned potential losses into gains. His 19-yard pass reception, which included two or three broken tackles set up the dramatic finish.
The Kittens, who had trailed the whole game, faced a fourth-and-7 at the Bryant 9 with 1:21 to go. Quarterback Tyler Garrettson rolled right and hit wide receiver Alex Reed in the end zone. But Reed was sandwiched between Bryant’s Bryce Decker and Chase Christy which prevented him from hanging onto the ball. It came out and in a blink, ricocheted off Christy’s back then scooped up before hit hit the ground by Conway’s A.J. Burton for the touchdown that cut the margin to 14-12. That set up the dramatic stop on the two-point try in which Wyrick took a direct snap and followed Garrettson and his blockers around right end only to be driven out of bounds just short of the tying 2.
It was a close call in a game that the Hornets seemed to control.
They’d opened the contest with an impressive 55-yard drive. Denker, who rushed for 104 yards on 20 carries, picked up 13 to the 6 and, on the next play, quarterback Dakota Beasancon hooked up with Trevor Ezell on a touchdown pass.
Out of the "two-ton" formation (with linemen Daniel Castleberry and Amador Gaspar as blocking backs), Denker picked up the 2-point conversion and Bryant led 8-0.
Three plays later, Nossaman intercepted a pass and returned it to the Bryant 47. The Hornets reached the Conway 46 but came up a yard short on a fourth-down play.
In response, the Kittens drove for a score behind Garrettson’s passing. He completed 5-of-6 during the drive including a 6-yard completion to Reed.
But when they tried for the tying 2, Bryant got pressure on the quarterback and his pass fell incomplete.
In turn, the Hornets drove to the 12 only to run out of downs. But they got a second chance when the Kittens couldn’t manage a first down when Ezell knocked down a third-down pass.
Surprisingly, the Kittens went for it from their own 17 with just over a minute left in the half. An incomplete pass followed, stopping the clock as Bryant took over on downs with 1:10 showing.
But the Conway defense held after the Hornets reached the 12 and it stayed 8-6 at the half.
The Kittens got the ball to start the second half, fielding an onside kick. Wyrick dashed for 14 yards after being hit in the backfield but, a play later, quarterback John Tabor, in for the shaken up Garrettson, threw deep down the left side only to have Ezell intercept at the 8.
Denker picked up 5 yards on two carries from there before Bryant’s third-and-5 play broke big. Beasancon passed to Nossaman 10 yards upfield and, using a springing block by Christy, Nossaman turned it into a 77-yard play. From the 10, Denker, using a wipe-out block by Colton Caviness rumbled into the end zone to make it 14-6.
On the 2-point try, it looked like Denker had nudged into the end zone but the call didn’t go the Hornets way and the door was left ajar with the Kittens just a touchdown and 2-pointer away from tying.
The momentum seemed to tilt Bryant’s way. After another onside kick that Conway covered at the Bryant 49, Tabor was sacked by Tanner Rich. Wyrick got the call on the next play but he was tracked down 12-yards behind the line of scrimmage and separated from the football by Gaspar. Tanner Gullett recovered for Bryant at the Conway 30.
A pair of penalties undermined the resulting possession and the Hornets wound up punting the ball away. In turn, Conway stalled at its own 40 as Irby, Denker and Rich each knocked down passes.
On fourth-and-10 from their own 40, the Kittens set up to punt but a bad snap undermined the effort and the Hornets took over on downs after stopping a scramble by punter Corey Goss for no gain.
Bryant drove to the 23 but stalled, turning the ball over to Conway on downs, setting the stage for the Kittens’ fourth-quarter touchdown drive.
FOUNTAIN LAKE — The Bryant Hornets won two of their five games at a 7-on-7 football competition at Fountain Lake on Saturday. The three losses were by a total of 8 points.
The Hornets will play a league 7-on-7 football competition at North Little Rock on July 20 with games against Augusta, Little Rock Central, North Little Rock and Morrilton to wrap up the summer. Fall practice begins Monday, Aug. 3.
Bryant opened with a 16-14 loss to Hot Springs Lakeside then dropped a 22-20 loss to Lake Hamilton when a last-second touchdown pass from Jimi Easterling to Caleb Thomas was waved off when it was ruled the snap came after the buzzer ending the game. After a 13-9 loss to Pulaski Academy, Bryant pounded the host team 37-7 then knocked Conway out of a championship final with a 20-14 win.[more]
"It just wasn't our day," noted Bryant offensive coordinator Dale Jones. "In all three of those games we lost, we had a lead."
Easterling threw eight touchdowns on the day but had four interceptions. Chris Rycraw, working toward adding a passing game to the Wildcat formation, threw a touchdown pass as well. Brandon Parish caught three touchdowns and Caleb Garrett, who sat out his sophomore year but has returned, grabbed three TD tosses. Thomas hauled in two and Nic Moore one. Linebacker Hunter Mayall and cornerback Logan Garland added to Bryant's point total with an interception apiece.
Rycraw, the Hornets' 1,500-yard rusher last year, has been reporting with the quarterbacks' morning workouts, Jones said. "To work on his mechanics, just so, if it got to that point and we wanted to do some Wildcat type of stuff like we did last year, we'd have that threat," he added. "Last year, there was probably very little chance he was throwing it. At least now, we've got the option where we can."
Saturday's games were 20 minutes long instead of the 25 or 30 usually played and, Jones indicated, that affected the Hornets.
"We didn't value every possession as well as we should have," he said. "If you don't get the ball first, you're already kind of behind the eight ball. If you get in a hole early, it's tough to come back.
"But we ended on a good note, knocking Conway out of the finals," Jones continued. "They were playing well all day long, so we beat a hot team there at the end."
As usual, the Hornets football team was without some players who are involved in Bryant baseball, but they were also without Tanner Tolbert, a standout in the secondary and deep threat as a receiver, and sophomore Sawyer Nichols, who has performed well in 7-on-7 this summer. Tolbert's family was out of town and Nichols is recovering from stretched rib cartilage. Chris Arnold, a senior receiver, is still recovering from hand surgery.
"The competition was tougher today too," Jones noted. "But it was good to go out there and compete with them. We had some guys play both ways and, with the heat, it was a test of our conditioning. The heat was pretty hard on us."
The Bryant Hornets defense returned to the form it had shown last week, much to the frustration of the Bryant offense, in a scrimmage held on Wednesday as spring football workouts in pads continued.
The Hornet D had looked a little sluggish in Monday's scrimmage but proved tough to block again on Wednesday.
"I thought we played with a little more intensity today," acknowledged Hornets defensive coordinator Steve Griffith. "I think part of that just had to do with really we were only going six or seven plays at a time so I think the kids cut loose and got after it pretty good.
"I thought our pass rush was a little bit better and we were moving to the football as a group a whole lot better," he continued. "And when we did get guys held up, we had other guys rallying to the football as a group which we really hadn't done very well on Monday."
The majority of the scrimmage involved the younger players but, after a light day on Thursday, most of the work in Friday's scrimmage will go to the first- and second-team guys.[more]
"Offensively, we trying a lot of different combinations and we're doing a lot of different things which makes us inconsistent," observed Hornets head coach Paul Calley. "It's not really the kids' fault. It's my fault for trying to do too much. We're trying to see what we can do, what we can't do and eliminate what we can't do before we start in the fall.
"You'd like to see them have more success and be more consistent," he continued, "but, in another sense, they realize they've got a lot of work to do and a long way to go, so they don't get complacent."
Regarding the passing game, Calley mentioned, "We had some open receivers, we just didn't put the ball on the money. We'd get it close but we still hadn't got that timing down that we need to have. And we will have by the time the season rolls around.
"There are times, we can run the ball and there are things we can do against our defense then there's just some things we can't do but we will be able to do against other people," added the coach. "It's kind of frustrating to the kids because they know what some of our best plays are during the season and we try to run them out here, they don't really work just because of the scheme that we play (on defense). Coach Griff does a good job of trying to keep the numbers in his favor and we haven't been able to take advantage of it.
"We've had a hard time running screens, we haven't done a good job blocking at receiver. We don't have a lot of big physical guys out there (at receiver) so it's going to be a challenge for us to be able to run screens, sprintouts. Our three-step game is there. That's what has looked the best. Our five-step right now, we're just not able to protect it and we don't really have the speed to get behind a lot of people."
Calley acknowledged that it's been a pretty typical spring.
"The defense should be ahead, the offense is trying to catch up. They've started stunting just a little bit more which makes it tough on us because we do such a good job on defense using our stunts and our guys knowing where to be and how to get there, taking the right angles and cutting things off. A lot of people stunt against us and they don't take good angles and they run themselves out of plays. It opens up holes and our backs have good enough vision to take advantage of it. But our guys on defense did a good job of shutting us down today.
"Overall, I'm pleased with the effort," he concluded. "When you go out and watch us practice, I guarantee there's not many teams that can go out and do what we did today with four different groups running our entire offense. We've got some (former players) volunteering and out there helping us. Our young guys get more reps and some good experience because of those guys."
Of the concluding scrimmage on Friday afternoon, Calley said, it should start around 2:30 or 2:45. "I'd like to run a lot more plays than we did today," he added. "I'd like to run at least 15 plays with each group. That's a 60-play scrimmage and, of course, you want to get out of that healthy. We've got a few bumps and bruises, a sprained ankle and some scrapes but nothing too serious and that's how we want to keep it."
Among the visitors at the Bryant Hornet practice on Wednesday was legendary high school football coach Don Campbell, most recently of Wynne.
BRYANT, Ark. — Junior center fielder Garrett Bock played as long as he could despite a painful hip that doctors had told him wouldn't get any worse if he played, as long as he could stand the pain. A chronic problem over the years, the hip will need surgery whenever it can be scheduled.
Bock played his last game of the season on Saturday, April 18, at Sheridan.
On Monday, the starting designated hitter was a sophomore, Chris Joiner, who had earned the chance with his play during junior varsity games this season. Joiner went 1-for-3 in his varsity debut against Watson Chapel, a non-conference foe. His second start came on Tuesday in a league game against Cabot. Hopes for at least a share of the 7A-Central Conference championship were hanging in the balance for both teams. Bryant came in 8-4 in league play, atop the standings thanks to Cabot's 7-2 win over North Little Rock on Monday. The Panthers were only a game behind Bryant, North Little Rock (7-4) and Conway (7-4) in the loss column and, after knocking off the Charging Wildcats, had designs on pulling even with Bryant with a win.
And, going into the bottom of the sixth inning, the Panthers held a 5-3 lead.
Bryant, of course, has proven this season its never out of a game and this was no exception. In the home sixth, Brennan Bullock, who has shown a knack for starting comebacks, slapped a 3-2 pitch from Cabot starter Andrew Reynolds into right field for a base hit to get things started. An out later, Brady Butler looped a liner to right for a base hit.
Reynolds got the second out, retiring hot-hitting Caleb Garrett on a pop to third. And that brought up Joiner in a key spot. If he could get on, the middle of the Hornets lineup, Hunter Mayall, Kaleb Jobe and Tyler Sawyer — all hitting over .400 this season — would be coming up with ducks on the pond.
Reynolds got a couple of strikes in on Joiner who also took a couple of pitches off the plate. On a 2-2 delivery, Joiner just barely got a piece to stay alive. Ball three followed then he coolly took ball four.
That proved to be the key at-bat in Bryant's come-from-behind 6-5 win which kept them in first place and a win away from at least a share of the league title and a first-round bye in the Class 7A State Tournament (whether seeded first or second). That one win will have to come in the conference finale at North Little Rock, a team Bryant lost to 11-4 earlier in the season. A loss and they could finish as low as third and miss out on the first round bye.[more]
At 9-4, the Hornets lead North Little Rock and Conway by half a game after both won Tuesday. Conway beat Van Buren 10-2 and North Little Rock edged Little Rock Central 4-3. In the other league game, Little Rock Catholic beat Russellville 8-5. In the other games on Thursday, Conway will host Russellville, Catholic (7-5) will visit Central (5-8), and Van Buren (5-6) will be at Cabot (6-6). North Little Rock has a make-up game left at home against Van Buren on Friday and Cabot, which may be fighting to get into the State Tournament at that point, plays at Conway on Tuesday, April 28. The final standings and seedings may not be settled until after that last contest.
On Tuesday, Joiner's walk loaded the bases for Mayall, who already had three hits in the game.
Perhaps unnerved a bit by the situation, Reynolds balked. Bullock trotted home, cutting the lead to 5-4. A pitch later, Reynolds' delivery got past catcher Ben Wainwright and Evan Jobe, running for Butler, sprinted home with the tying run as Joiner moved up to third with the lead run.
On a 1-1 pitch, Mayall slapped a hard grounder down the third-base line that Cabot's Ty Steele somehow gloved. It was the third splendid play of the night by Steele who had saved two runs in the second and another in the third with his gems. This time, however, Steele's great grab left him in a tough position to throw. His sling to first was wild as Mayall raced past first and headed to second then third while Joiner scored to give the Hornets the lead.
In the top of the seventh, Ben Wells, who relieved starter Kaleb Jobe in the top of the sixth pitching out of a two-on, one-out jam, struck out Matthew Turner. He then got Reynolds to bounce wide of first where Butler roamed to smother the ball. Butler tossed to Wells covering first just in time for the out.
The junior right-hander then closed it out with another strikeout.
It was a great way to celebrate Senior Night. Justin Blankenship, Jobe, Austin Queck, Sawyer and Jonathan Wade along with manager Chris Edwards were honored after the game.
"We put ourselves in a position to win," observed Bryant head coach Kirk Bock. "Then we get some breaks and we're able to win. That's good. I guarantee you, you never say die with this team. The kids, the whole time, there was never any doubt in their minds that we were going to win."
Bock agreed that Joiner's plate appearance was huge. "Working him deep, deep, deep in the count and then just getting on," he noted. "That was a game changer right there. It brought up the guy that went 4-for-4. And Hunter Mayall can just flat, dad-gum hit. As long as he picks good pitches, he can just hit."
Mayall now leads the team in hitting at .454.
The gift runs that the Hornets received in the sixth provided a counterpart to the gifts they'd given Cabot earlier in the game. Errors played into two of the Panthers' run-scoring innings. Only two of their runs were earned.
Bryant had taken a 1-0 lead in the home first. Garrett singled to right on the first pitch of the game by Reynolds. Joiner sacrificed him to second and Mayall singled to send him to third, taking second as the throw from the outfield sailed all the way home. Moments later, a wild pitch allowed Garrett to score before Reynolds retired Jobe and Sawyer to strand Mayall at third.
Cabot tied it in the top of the second. Wainwright doubled. Matthew Turner then shot one to the right side that Bryant's Tyler Brown flagged down, throwing to first for the out as courtesy runner Zach Uhiren advanced to third. A passed ball allowed Uhiren to score but base hits by Reynolds and Tyler Erickson followed which would've pushed the run home.
Jobe kept it at 1-1 by inducing a grounder to Mayall at third for a force then getting Steele to fly to Blankenship in right.
The Hornets regained the advantage in the bottom of the inning. Bullock was hit by a pitch (for the 11th time this year) then Brown singled up the middle. With two down, Garrett came through in the clutch with a single to center, plating Bullock. With runners at second and third, Joiner pulled a hard grounder to the left side and Steele robbed him of a hit and the Hornets of two runs, getting the final out of the inning with his throw to first.
The Panthers took the lead in the top of the third. Joe Bryant beat out an infield hit but he was forced at second on his brother Powell Bryant's bouncer to third. Drew Burks singled up the middle and, with Wainwright at the plate, Jobe committed a balk to move the runners up the second and third for Wainwright. A fly to left center appeared to be deep enough for Powell Bryant to score. But the ball was ruled to have popped out of Garrett's glove in center allowing the run to score and Wainwright to reach base.
An out later, Reynolds looped a single to right. Burke scored and Uhiren followed him to the plate where Blankenship's throw from right got a way from catcher B.J. Ellis.
Jobe kept it at that, however, by getting the next batter to fly to Blankenship in right to end the inning.
The Hornets whittled a run off the lead when Mayall singled, Jobe sacrificed him to second, and Sawyer drove him home with a base hit to center.
The two hurlers settled in after that and it stayed 4-3 until the top of the sixth. Mayall robbed Erickson of a hit with a leaping catch of his line drive to start the inning. But consecutive singles by Cole Nicholson and Steele put Jobe in a jam and Bock called on Wells.
On the second pitch from the Bryant reliever Joe Bryant hit a hard grounder toward third that stayed down and got past Mayall allowing Nicholson to score. But Wells got Powell Brown to fly to Bullock in center and, after an intentional walk to Burks to load the bases and set up a force at every station, he struck out Wainwright to end the inning.
But, instead of a one-run deficit to overcome, the Hornets came to the plate two down with six outs to go. They wouldn't need all six.
Incidentally, Jobe whacked a one-out single in the fifth which extended his hitting streak to 14 games.
CONWAY, Ark. — In 20 games this season, Bryant Hornets pitchers had surrendered just five home runs but three of them were hit by the Conway Wampus Cats. Those came in the wild contest between the two rivals on March 17 in which Conway scored five times in the top of the eighth to take a 9-4 lead and Bryant scored six in the bottom of the inning to win, 10-9.
In fact, the Hornets hadn't given up the long ball since then going into Thursday's return engagement at The Field at Conway High School.
The Wampus Cats broke that streak with a pair of long balls. And this time, right-hander B.J. Lowe, aided by some improved defense, made them stand up for a 4-1 win.
The Hornets came into the game in first place in the 7A-Central Conference. With North Little Rock's 10-0 victory over Little Rock Catholic, the Charging Wildcats, 7-3, pull even with the Hornets (8-4) but lead on the loss side. Conway improved to 7-4 followed by Catholic (6-5), Van Buren (5-5 after a 7-0 win over Russellville), LR Central (6-6), Cabot (4-6) and Russellville (1-11).
Bryant plays Cabot and North Little Rock in its final two conference games next week as they vie for one of the top two spots in the league and the first-round bye that goes with them at the Class 7A State Tournament.
Despite Thursday's loss, they officially clinched a bid to the State Tournament thanks to Cabot's 3-2 win over Little Rock Central. [more]
Thursday's game with Conway was actually very much like the one in Bryant between the two teams except for Conway's defense. At Bryant, Lowe had Bryant shut out on one hit through three innings. In the fourth, however, a pair of errors opened the door for the Hornets to even the game up at 3-3. Two more contributed to Bryant's incredible eighth-inning rally.
This time, the Cats not only didn't commit an error, they robbed the Hornets of hits three or four times. Lowe took a three-hit shutout into the sixth and wound up going the distance. All seven of Bryant's hits were singles. Lowe walked no one.
Conway finished with just six hits but four of those were for extra bases including a solo homer by Josh Whitehurst and a game-clinching two-run shot by James Murphy in the sixth.
Now Bryant's surrendered just seven home runs in 21 games, five of them to Conway. (Van Buren hit the other two in a 5-3 Bryant win March 14.)
The Wampus Cats, 11-7 overall, have won seven of their last eight conference games since the 10-9 loss at Bryant.
Whitehurst's shot came with one out in the bottom of the second, clearing the fence in right-center with a bit of help from a steady breeze blowing from the left-field corner to the right-field corner. Murphy followed with a double but Bryant starter Kaleb Jobe retired the next two on groundouts to keep it 1-0.
Lowe, meanwhile, had surrendered a two-out single to Hunter Mayall in the first, a two-out single to Brady Butler in the second, and a one-out single to Justin Blankenship in the third.
It was still 1-0 going into the top of the fourth when Conway first baseman Jordan Cates robbed Mayall of another hit, feeding Lowe for the out at first. With two down, Cates made an even better play with a diving stop on a hot grounder off the bat of Tyler Sawyer. Again Lowe covered for the out to retire the side.
Jobe, meanwhile, had overcome a walk in the third and he managed that again in the home fourth.
In the fifth, Lowe hit Brennan Bullock with a pitch (the 10th time this season, Bullock's been plunked). Tyler Brown followed with a shot down the third-base line only to have third sacker Matt Lefler turn what might've been a double into the second out with a sprawling grab and accurate throw to first.
With Bullock at second (the first Hornet to get that far), Lowe got Blankenship to bounce to second, the only time in the game he retired the Hornets' senior outfielder.
In the bottom of the inning, Lefler followed up his sparkling defensive play with a lead-off single to center. Aaron Boucher battled Jobe for a walk then Wesley Hoover got a sacrifice bunt down to put runners at second and third. Lowe followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0 but Jobe got Cates to bounce to Sawyer at short to keep it to that.
And the Hornets had the top of their order up in the sixth. They finally broke through against Lowe. Caleb Garrett looped a single to right-center and, after Garrett Bock flew out to center, Mayall lofted a fly down the left-field line. Whitehurst, the Conway left-fielder, was shading Mayall to left-center but made the long run to the foul line to make the catch. That proved crucial because Jobe, extending his hitting streak to 10, and Sawyer followed with singles that chased Garrett home to make it 2-1.
With runners at first and second, Brady Butler, who had doubled to the opposite field in the bottom of the eight to drive in the two runs that tied the March 17 game in the bottom of the eighth, battled with Lowe to a 3-1 count. Butler went oppo again on the next pitch but the ball hung up for Hoover to get under for the third out.
Jobe retired the first batter in the bottom of the sixth but then Whitehurst drilled a liner into the right-field corner for a triple. Bryant head coach Kirk Bock brought on Ben Wells to relieve as Murphy came to the plate. But, on Wells' third pitch, Murphy cracked a homer to make it 4-1.
Of course, with the previous meeting in mind, the Hornets were hardly ready to concede anything. Ironically, the same batter that started the six-run rally in the previous meeting, led off the top of the seventh on Thursday. But, this time, it was still Lowe on the hill instead of a reliever. Bullock fanned then Brown grounded to short. Blankenship kept his team's hopes alive with his second single but Garrett grounded into a force that ended the game.
The Hornets, 15-6, are scheduled for non-conference games before returning to league play on Tuesday. They host Woodlawn today at 5 then visit Sheridan on Saturday for a 1 p.m. game (weather-permitting) before hosting Watson Chapel on Monday, April 20, with JV games following each varsity contest. Cabot visits on Tuesday. Thursday's game will be in North Little Rock.
SHERWOOD, Ark. – Bryant's Amie Hubbard slugged a solo home run, her four the of the season, to help the Arkansas Razorbacks softball team to a 6-2 victory over Centenary at the Sherwood Sports Complex on Wednesday, April 15.
Hubbard, who helped the Bryant Lady Hornets reach the Class 7A State finals her senior season in 2005, also walked and scored in the game. She contributed a sacrifice bunt as well.
In addition, Kayla Johnson ascended to the top of Arkansas’ all-time runs scored list. The senior infielder finished the night 3-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored. In the circle, Miranda Dixon improved to 16-6 with a complete-game performance. The Razorbacks improve to 7-0 all-time in games played in Sherwood.[more]
“It’s always special to come down to Sherwood because it’s always a great crowd,” head coach Jamie Pinkerton said. “It’s good to bring the team down here and let them see the appreciation and support the Razorbacks have all across the state.”
The visitors jumped out to a 1-0 lead by scoring an unearned run in the top of the first. After a three-base error in the outfield, Haley Bassett stood on third and eventually came home to score on a foul out by Lindsey Smith.
“We got off to a slow start with an uncharacteristic error in the outfield,” Pinkerton said. “But I liked the way we bounced back to score in the second. Offensively, I liked the way we swung the bats tonight. We didn’t leave many runners on the base.”
Johnson led off the Razorbacks’ half of the second inning with a solo shot to left field, her fourth home run of the season. With the run, she tied Dana Gulick (1997-2000) atop the career runs scored list at Arkansas.
After a walk to Dixon and a throwing error by Centenary, runners stood on first and second. Sandra Smith drove in both runs with a double to left center to give the Razorbacks the 3-1 advantage.
The Razorbacks added a run in the fourth on Hubbard's blast which made it 4-1.
Jessica Bachkora extended her current hitting streak to seven with a double to lead off the bottom of the fifth. Another double by Johnson plated Bachkora to push the Arkansas lead to four. Dixon helped her own cause with a single up the middle which brought Johnson home for the record-setting run. The Razorbacks led 6-1 at the end of five.
Centenary tacked on its second run of the evening in the top of the sixth. Haley Bassett had the first hit of the game for the Ladies with a single up the middle. Jenny Varteressian singled to center field to drive in Bassett to give the game its final tally.
“Miranda did a great job pitching for us tonight,” Pinkerton said. “She pitched with confidence, didn’t get behind and I liked her presence out there in the circle.
Overall, it was a nice win for us over a good Centenary team and it should give us a good boost going into Tuscaloosa this weekend against Alabama.”
BRYANT, Ark. — The Bryant Hornets baseball team won its 15th game on Tuesday, a 4-3 squeaker against the Russellville Cyclones.
Now, if you count back, you might not come up with that figure. But Bryant head coach Kirk Bock was notified on Tuesday that his junior varsity's game against the Bauxite Miners on March 9 was reported to the Arkansas Activities Association as a varsity game by the Miners. Thus the game counts as a varsity game for the Hornets.
Before that became known, Bock, in his first year in Bryant, was seeking his 400th career victory when his team hosted Russellville. But with the addition of the Bauxite contest, a 12-7 Bryant win by the JV, Bock recorded his 401st victory as a high school coach.
As it turns out, his 400th came on Thursday, April 9, against Van Buren, the school where he started his career and spent six years before taking over at Harrison. He coached the Goblins for nine years before coming to Bryant.
JONESBORO — An early red card in their second round game at the Northeast Arkansas Invitational left the Bryant Hornets short-handed against the Searcy Lions on Saturday. Though they battled to a scoreless tie the rest of the half, the Hornets were victimized by three Searcy goals in the second half that proved decisive.
Searcy went on to win the tournament championship with a 1-0 win over North Little Rock.
The Hornets came back to play the host Jonesboro team in the third-place game and the two teams dueled without a goal until the Hurricane managed to get shot from around the 18 to go in with about five minutes to go to forge the 1-0 victory.
Bryant had opened the tournament with a 3-0 win over Bolton, Tenn., to snap a four-game losing streak.
The Hornets 7-10 overall this season, commence an important week of 7A-Central Conference action when they host Cabot on Tuesday, April 14. On Thursday, April 16, they’ll travel to North Little Rock in hopes of duplicating their 3-1 win over the Charging Wildcats on March 17.
Bryant and Cabot have yet to play this season due to a rainout on March 12. They’ll play again in Cabot to finish the regular season on Thursday, April 23.