By Bridget Bauer
NORTH LITTLE ROCK — Errors and not getting timely hits plagued the Bryant Lady Hornets against[more] White Hall in first-round competition Friday of the Tournament of Champions at Burns Park.
White Hall, the 5A state champion last year, tallied two runs each in the second and third innings and added an insurance run in the seventh to hold off the Lady Hornets, 5-2. Bryant (1-4) tallied its two runs in the bottom of the seventh.
The tournament is hosted by North Little Rock and is comprised of the seven State champions plus North Little Rock. All of the State titlists competed except for 3A Mansfield which was replaced by Bald Knob.
“In the last three innings, we put people on base and is scoring position,” Bryant coach Debbie Clark said. “We haven’t been doing that. We played a good team, and I told the girls to give themselves a chance.”
Bryant scored its two runs in the bottom of the seventh after freshman Julie Ward reached base on a fielder’s choice and eventually scored on an error. Breanna Sanders and Katy Stillman followed with consecutive singles, and Sanders scored on Sydney Gogus’ RBI-grounder.
Junior Kayla Jolley got the Lady Hornets’ first hit of the game with her double in the second inning. Bryant finished with nine hits, and Stillman and Sanders led the Lady Hornets with two singles apiece. Kaley Coppock, Brianna Davis, Abby Staton and Gogus all added a single each.
Jolley, Bryant’s junior pitcher, gave up six hits, struck out three batters, walked one batter and hit one. She had four scoreless innings and held her composure as the Bryant defense suffered five errors. She yielded two hits each in the second and third inning. The third inning was also where she hit a batter and had her lone walk and worked out of a jam as White Hall stranded three runners. The Lady Hornets committed one error each in the second and third, one in the fifth and two in the seventh which led to a White Hall run.
“I told her she did a good job plus she got a great hit,” Clark said. “Nothing fazes her, and she keeps her head on straight. She did exactly what we needed her to do. Her teammates have to make the routine plays.”
Jolley went three up and three down in the first and fourth stanzas. The leadoff batter reached on an error in the fifth before she retired the next three batters. In the sixth, she yielded one hit and also one in the seventh. However, the hit given up in the seventh was to the fifth batter after two of the first three batters reached base on errors.
“We aren’t adjusting,” Clark said. “We make a great play then throw a ball into the field.”