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Bryant captures 6A softball state championship in dramatic fashion

The Lady Hornets scored five runs in the final inning to shock Cabot and win the Class 6A state title.

CONWAY, Ark. — Before each game in this state tournament, the Bryant softball team has watched clips from Rocky III, where the titular pugilist reminds them that "it's not about how hard you hit, it's what you do when you get hit that matters. That you keep moving forward, keep fighting." 

That's just what the Lady Hornets embodied in their 8-5 victory over Cabot in the Class 6A softball state championship game at Ferris Field in Conway.

Bryant, whose only conference losses came to Cabot, once again found themselves on the receiving end of a punch from the Lady Panthers, trailing 5-3 entering the final inning.

"They didn't even want me in the huddle before that last inning," Bryant coach Lisa Dreher said. "But whatever they said worked."

Bryant quickly scored one, bringing the score to 5-4. However, a failed squeeze play for out No. 2 put the Lady Hornets against the ropes.

"We still had full confidence," Bryant senior Macy Hoskins said. "This team is the only team I've ever been on that knew we were not going to lose this game."

Down to their last out, Bryant kept moving forward. 

Leah Hicks singled in the game-tying run, then Hoskins stepped into the box and delivered on the final swing of her high school career.

The senior launched a go-ahead three-run home run to give the Lady Hornets an 8-5 lead.

"It's beyond words," Hoskins said. "I was jumping out of my shoes. It's honestly surreal."

Cabot went down gently in the bottom of the 7th inning as Bryant sealed a come-from-behind victory for its first state title since 2012.

The win holds a special meaning for Dreher who was the University of Central Arkansas' first softball signee in 1996.

She was later inducted into the UCA Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.

"It means way more than you can imagine," Dreher said. "It means so much to come full circle like this. The fight in these kids... I've never had a team like this."

Weekend of Champions state tournament scores and scoreboard for Central Arkansas teams can be found here.


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