In a battle for the 7A Central title, the Lady Hornets came up short Monday, losing 4-3 to North Little Rock in extra innings.
However, since both teams have only two conferences losses, both will share the title of conference champion.
Bryant (21-5, 12-2 7A Central) lost both of its conference games at the hands of North Little Rock, who earned the No. 1 seed in the state tournament beginning Friday in Bentonville.
The Lady Hornets will be the tournament No. 2 seed and still receive a first-round bye, facing the winner of Friday’s game between Springdale Har-Ber and Little Rock Hall at 1:45 p.m. Saturday.
In order to make it back to the championship game, which the Lady Hornets won last year, head coach Debbie Clark said her team will need to win two games.
In the meantime, the Lady Hornets will face Lake Hamilton on the road at 5 p.m. today. Clark said she will change today’s lineup from her usual one in order to give pitcher Peyton Jenkins some needed rest.
During Monday’s game, Jenkins allowed three runs on seven hits and two hit batters while striking out eight.
Clark said the Lady Hornets had nine hits on the night, including three doubles and a home run by Jessie Taylor — her 11th of the season, which ties her mark from last year.
“We left too many people on base,” she said, adding that North Little Rock “just hit the right spots.”
Bryant got off to an early lead when Taylor hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning, scoring Jenna Bruick and herself.
North Little Rock and Bryant each scored one run in the third, giving the Lady Hornets a 3-1 lead until the fifth inning when the Lady Charging Wildcats scored one.
North Little Rock scored one more in the sixth, which tied the game that went into extra innings after neither team scored in the seventh.
North Little Rock would go on to score one run in the eighth, and Bryant failed to answer, losing 4-3.
Clark said, “I tried to squeeze. I tried to bunt. I tried everything.”
Taylor ended the game with two hits, including her home run, and two RBIs. Bruick also had two hits.
Kayla Sory had two hits, including one double, and one RBI, while Cassidy Wilson had one double.