Monday, April 09, 2007

SPORTS >>Cabot beats Cyclone 10-4

IN SHORT: The Panthers started out slow, but started generating runs in the third inning, topping 7A-Central Conference rival Russellville on Thursday.

Leader staffwriter

Both teams’ bats swung impressively in the middle of the game, but the Panthers’ were more consistent, as Cabot went on for a 10-4 win against Russellville in a 7A-Central Conference matchup Thursday evening at the Conrade Sports Complex.

The Cyclones led the first two frames after a first inning run put them on the scoreboard first. It may have taken a little while for Cabot to get things going offensively, but once they did, they racked up five runs in the bottom of the third to take control, adding three scores in the fourth inning, and two more for insurance in the bottom of the sixth.

Panthers coach Jay Fitch was happy with the team’s performance on the night, but is looking for more batting consistency in the early stages.

“They seem nervous the first time through the lineup,” Fitch said. “We’ve ended up with eight or nine runs the last few games, even though we come out of the gates slow. We had a couple of big innings, but we are still struggling with our base running.”

Colin Fuller and Sean Clarkson shared duties at the mound on Tuesday, with Fuller starting for the first four innings before Clarkson relieved him to start the fifth.

It wasn’t hits that got things started out for Cabot in the bottom of the third, but rather three Russellville errors that allowed Fuller and Drew Burks to reach. A walk for Sam Bates loaded the bases with only one out, and another walk for third baseman Jonathon Parker forced Fuller in for the first score.

Another error on a hit by Logan Lucas drove in Burks and Bates, followed by a single by Justin Free that scored Parker and Lucas to make it 5-1.

DH Matthew Turner ap-peared to have another hit for the Panthers when he cranked it into the hole between left and center, but Russellville made a great play to rob Turner with the catch for the third out.

The Panthers added three more runs in the fourth with an RBI for Burks that drove in Shayne Burgan and kept the bases loaded following a single for Fuller.

The Cyclones didn’t lie down, however.

They came right back in the top of the fifth for two more scores off a double by Cory Baxley that cut Cabot’s advantage to 8-4, but it would be as close as they would come.

Cabot added its final two scores in the sixth by taking advantage of yet another Russellville error to score Baker on a hit by Free, with Lucas tapping up for the final run of the game on a sacrifice fly.

The stats for Cabot broke down very evenly, with every batter with the exception of Burgan and centerfielder Cory Wade recording a hit.

Fuller, Bates, Lucas, Free and Turner all ended up 1 for 3, with Burks and Parker finishing 1 for 2. Lucas and Free led in RBIs with three each.

The Panthers finished with seven total hits, but the six errors from Russellville told the biggest story.

The Cyclones finished with four hits and received one error from Cabot.

Fuller and Clarkson combined for nine strikeouts, with six of those going to Fuller.

Cabot will take on Conway Tuesday at home.