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Chism validates Bryant's victory

CABOT -- Fort Smith Southside was attempting to rally in Friday's Class 7A state softball quarterfinal game against Bryant.

Hornets catcher Meagan Chism put a stop to it.

With the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the sixth inning, Chism picked Southside's Caitlyn Bagby off second base to end the Mavericks' threat and preserve the Hornets' 4-1 victory at Panther Softball Complex.

Bryant (28-4), the 7A-Central Conference's No. 1 seed, will face 7A-West No. 2 seed Bentonville West at 2:30 p.m. today in the second semifinal. Two-time defending state champion Bentonville faces tournament-host Cabot in the first semifinal at noon.

Hornets Coach Lisa Dreher credited Chism for what she believed was one of the biggest plays of Friday's game.

"She was getting way far off for Chism," Dreher said of Bagby. "It's a given out with her [Chism], almost. It was a big opportunity. She does that quite a bit.

"She saw the play develop."

Raven Loveless pitched a complete game for Bryant. She allowed 1 run on 8 hits and struck out 4.

"I haven't seen her as sharp as she was today in a long time," Dreher said. "She was on her game, I'll say that. That's Raven. I expected it, but you don't know for sure."

Bryant took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on Sarah Evans' RBI double.

Southside tied it at 1-1 in the top of the third inning on Madi Conklin's run-scoring single.

The Hornets regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning when Chism led off with a single, then Loveless doubled to put runners on second and third. Two batters later, Maddie Stephens grounded out and Chism scored to give the Hornets a 2-1 lead. Isabella Herring singled to right field to bring home Loveless to extend it to 3-1.

Bryant added a run in the bottom of the fifth inning when Maddie Thompson scored on a throwing error by the shortstop Conklin, making it 4-1.

No Bryant hitter had more than two hits, and the Hornets were outhit 8-6.

Hannah Hogue and Ella Kohler each had two hits to lead Southside.

The Hornets won three consecutive Class 7A state championships in 2010-2012. They're in the Class 7A state semifinals for the second consecutive year. They lost to North Little Rock in last year's semifinals.

Dreher is looking forward to seeing if her team can get to the Class 7A state championship game at Bogle Park in Fayetteville.

"Hopefully, we can finish it this time and make our mark," Dreher said. "For the majority of them, they've been here. It won't be for lack of experience of being here."

Sports on 05/12/2018

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