Power and Pitching: Lady Hornets hit three home runs and throw no-hitter

BRYANT – The Bryant Lady Hornets got a no-hitter from senior pitcher Peyton Jenkins, two home runs from sophomore Kaley Coppock and continued their undefeated season getting a 10-0 victory over the Mount Saint Mary’s Belles in 7A Central action on Tuesday at Lady Hornets Field.

“We did what we were supposed to,” Bryant Coach Debbie Clark said. “This is a game that we should win. I told the girls after spring break that this is a game we have to come in and take care of business. Those are the games as a coach that you kind of get worried about, but the girls came and did their jobs.”

The Lady Hornets (11-0, 2-0 7A Central) didn’t take long to put up some runs. After Jenkins grounded out to start the bottom of the first, the Belles pitcher did what she can’t do against Bryant’s potent offense – walk a batter. Senior Jenna Bruick walked, stole second and scored on senior catcher Jessie Taylor’s double down the left-field line to make it 1-0. Sophomore Kayla Jolley pinch ran for Taylor and scored when senior center fielder Kayla Sory took a 1-0 count over the center-field fence for a home run and a 3-0 lead.

Bryant continued their scoring in the bottom of the second when Jenkins singled with one out and was pinch ran for by senior Brittney Ball. Ball went to second on Bruick’s bunt single, and after a fly out to left by Taylor for the second out, Sory walked to load the bases. Senior Cassidy Wilson hit a line drive between the shortstop and third baseman which found the umpire’s chest and skirted into short center field. Three runs ended up scoring on Wilson’s bases-loaded double off the ump. Coppock cleared the bases with her first home run of the day, a two-run shot to left field, which Clark said was her first home run of the year not to go off the outfielder’s head.

“Her first one of the year went off the right fielder’s forehead,” Clark said. “This time she didn’t have to have the forehead. We were teasing her about that.”

Up 8-0, the Lady Hornets were cruising, especially with their ace pitcher Jenkins throwing no-hit ball. Jenkins gave up a one-out walk in the top of the second inning for her only blemish of the game. After the walk, she induced a grounder to third base and then struck out Hanna Casey looking to end the inning. The strike out was the first of five in a row. In fact, 11 of Mount Saint Mary’s 15 outs came by a Jenkins’ strike out. Jenkins finished with five hitless and shutout innings, walking one and striking out 11 on 71 pitches.

Junior third baseman McKenzie Rice was hit by a pitch to start the bottom of the third, took second on a wild pitch and scored on Jenkins single to right field. Jenkins tried to make it a double despite Assistant Coach Nathan Castaldi’s stop sign, but was thrown out at second, although it looked like she slid under the tag.

“It’s a bang-bang play,” Clark said. “We put pressure on the defense. They had to make a good throw. I don’t get upset about things like that. Those are good things that happen. Nine times out of 10 we’re probably safe there. Not because of the call, but the defense doesn’t make the play.”

With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Coppock hit her second homer of the day, a no-doubter that cleared the center-field fence by about 30 feet.

“We swung the bats,” Clark said. “They had two different pitchers, but we adjusted both times. We had three home runs in a game. How many teams do that? That’s because they come in and they practice. But we also bunted with Bruick – we still play the game. We just don’t go for the fence.”

Coppock went 2 for 2 with two home runs and three RBIs, Jenkins went 2 for 4 with an RBI, Sory went 1 for 2 with two runs scored and two RBIs and Wilson went 1 for 3 with a run and three RBIs. Bruick scored two runs going 1 for 1 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch.

“It’s just an extreme pleasure to coach this group of girls,” Clark said. “They work hard. They practice and they work extra. They don’t just come up here and practice with me. They spend time, lots of hours working.”

The Lady Hornets travel to Van Buren to take on the Lady Pointers on Thursday in conference action and will stay in west Arkansas to participate in the Van Buren Tournament, where they will have a look at the West schools as Bryant gears up for another state title run.