By Rob Patrick
It’s a little overdue but here’s an update on Bryant grads still competing in[more] college or the pros. If I’ve left anybody out, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 350-7898.
This list includes Dijon Benton, Garrett Bock, Jordan Chadwick, Brandon Cowart, Trent Daniel, Kyle Douglas, David Guarno, Michael Haydon, Jake Jackson, Shanika Johnson, Kaleb Jobe, Hailey King, Christen Kirchner, Haley Montgomery, Alana Morris, Tyler Pickett, Chris Rycraw, Tyler Sawyer, Ben Wells, Joey Winiecki and Travis Wood.
Benton and Rycraw both played for the Ouachita Baptist Tigers football team last fall.
• Benton, a starter on defense, was in on 40 tackles, had an interception, two pass break-ups, forced a fumble and blocked of a kick. The kick block proved key to a Tiger victory.
• Rycraw, as a freshman running back who had a record-setting career for the Hornets, played in six games and rushed for 53.
• Jackson, a wide receiver at Rhodes College, caught 24 passes in 10 games last fall, for 299 yards and two touchdowns.
• Cowart, a point guard at Lyon College, played in 29 games and started nine, averaging 17 minutes a game. He averaged 5.7 points per game and was second on the team with 48 assists. He also knocked down 87 percent of his free throws.
• Morris, a freshman at Tennessee State, started 21 of the team’s 30 games, averaging 25 minutes a game, which was second most on the team. And she was the team’s leading rebounder, averaging 5.1 per game with 152 total. While averaging 4 points per game, she was second on the team in assists with 2.5 a game.
• Johnson also wound up at Tennessee State where she’s playing for the softball team. She’s started eight of the team’s 17 games in her freshman season. In 23 at bats, she’s had four hits (.174 average), scored three runs and knocked in two.
At Central Baptist College in Conway, Kirchner and King, who helped the team win a national championship last season, are playing well again.
• Through 26 games, Kirchner is hitting a whopping .522 (47 of 90). She’s scored 31 runs and knocked in 27 with 11 doubles, a triple and five home runs. She’s walked just six times but fanned only four times.
• King, playing shortstop, is hitting a healthy .425 (37 of 87) with 26 runs scored, 27 RBIs, six doubles and six homers.
• On the baseball diamond, Travis Wood pitched on Thursday for the Cincinnati Reds in a game that turned into a slugfest with the Texas Rangers that the defending American League champs won 15-13.
The lefty came into spring training as one of three pitchers battling for two spots in the Reds’ rotation but with an injury to Johnny Cueto all three (Wood, Homer Bailey and Mike Leake) should make it.
During Thursday’s game, Reds TV announcers Thom Brennaman and Jeff Brantley stated that they thought Wood was the team’s second best pitcher down the stretch last season when Cincy won the National League Central Division. They also mentioned that they thought that he was one of the best athletes on the team and that he might be second only to Drew Stubbs as the fastest players on the team.
During a recent spring training game, Wood was up to bunt and, after trying twice unsuccessfully to sacrifice, blasted a three-run homer. Thursday, he did get a perfect sacrifice bunt down but, later, was called on to fake a bunt and swing. With two strikes, he belted a double.
So far this spring, Wood is 1-0 with a 4.66 earned run average, which apparently is pretty good while pitching in an Arizona camp where the ball flies. He’s worked 19 1/3 innings, given up 23 hits, walked just three and struck out 18.
• Wells, who was drafted by the Chicago Cubs last June, is at the team’s Minor League spring training in Arizona. He should receive a season assignment in the next two weeks. Word is that he has pitched five innings and given up just one earned run.
• In Fayetteville, Daniel picked up his first victory as an Arkansas Razorback on Wednesday night in the Hogs’ win over Memphis at AutoZone Park. He relieved starter Ryne Stanek in the third inning and got out of a jam by striking out the only two batters he faced.
He lowered his earned run average of the season to 2.38. Along with the win, Daniel has recorded a save. He’s pitched 11 1/3 innings, allowed six hits, three runs and three walks while striking out 17. Opponents are hitting just. 162 against him.
• In Tulsa, Joey Winiecki is off to a slow start for the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles. In 15 games, 13 of them starts, he is hitting .192 (10 of 52) with six runs scored and four knocked in. He’s walked six times and struck out 10 times but was 3 of 3 on steals.
In 2010, Winiecki hit .329 (70 of 213) with 51 runs scored, eight doubles and a triple with 23 runs batted in. He was second on the team with 14 steals and contributed 14 sacrifice bunts, tops on the team.
Sawyer and Guarno are playing at Crowder Junior College and Pickett is catching at Southern Arkansas University.
• Sawyer is helping at the plate and on the mound. He’s hitting .365 (19 of 52) with 12 runs scored, a triple, a homer and 10 knocked in. On the mound, he’s thrown 8 1/3 innings, allowing 13 hits and two walks while striking out three. He’s 0-1 with a 7.56 earned run average which, as a reliever with so few innings, is probably one bad outing along the way.
• Guarno, who missed almost all of last season with an injury and gained a hardship redshirt, has come back strong. He’s batting .433 (45 of 104) to lead the team. He’s cracked six homers, eight doubles and two triples, scored 24 times and knocked in 31. He leads the team in hits, doubles, homers and RBIs.
• Pickett, in 10 games for the Muleriders, is hitting .222 (4 of 18) with five runs scored, two doubles and five batted in. He’s also walked six times, been hit by a pitch and has a .423 on-base percentage.
• Bock, who signed to play at Crowder, has transferred to UCA where he is rehabbing from more difficulty with his hip. He hopes to be back on the field this fall or next spring. In the meantime, he’s serving as an unofficial student coach for head coach Alan Gum.
• Haydon, a senior at Ouachita Baptist, has been to the plate twice so far this season without a hit.
• In soccer, Montgomery is redshirting as a freshman at UCA.
Thank you for the update on these great ambassadors for our community!