Tuesday, July 06, 2010

SPORTS>>Pitching propels Cabot to victory

Leader sports editor

A fifth-inning rally and a strong start by Chase Beasely lifted Cabot Centennial Bank to a 4-2 victory over Searcy Crain Team in the Fourth of July American Legion Classic at Dupree Park on Sunday.

“That was a real baseball game and I was happy that we were able to win a close ballgame,” Cabot coach Jay Darr said.

Cabot scored three runs in the fifth to overcome a 2-1 deficit and Beasley pitched a complete, seven-inning game.

“Our pitching has been pretty strong,” Darr said. “That’s his third time to throw this week.”

Cabot took a 1-0 lead when shortstop Matt Evans walked to lead off the fourth and, after a sacrifice by Tyler Erickson and a balk, Evans scored from third on catcher Andrew Reynolds’ single to left.

“Our team, so far this year, we’ve really been striking out a lot,” Darr said. “And so I think our approach lately has been that we just don’t give away at-bats. We put the ball in play and put the pressure on the defense, and when you do that, good things will happen.”

Searcy did the same thing to Cabot in the bottom of the fourth, putting the ball in play and getting a pair of runs aided by Cabot miscues. Beasley, who gave up two hits in the first two innings, ran into his roughest patch in the fourth.

Beasley hit Nate Leonard tolead off the inning and advanced him with a wild pitch. After Josh Spears’ groundout, Leonard scored from third when right fielder Justin Tyler dropped A.J. Chesser’s fly ball for an error.

Chesser advanced to second on Hayden Mercer’s infield hit and took third on Evans’ throwing error from shortstop on the same play as Mercer moved up to second.

Chesser scored the go-ahead run when Jacob Holland hit into a fielder’s choice.

Cabot, which loaded the bases but couldn’t score in the first, came back with its three-run fifth for the 4-2 lead.

Powell Bryant beat out an infield hit and later scored when Ty Steele hit into a fielder’s choice. Matt Turner singled to advance Steele and Steele scored on Evans’ single, and Turner scored on Erickson’s sacrifice fly.

“We’ve been hitting the ball real well up until today, that we haven’t been doing throughout the season,” Darr said. “We’ve peaked right now.”

Beasley gave up four hits and struck out seven while walking one in seven innings. He faced the minimum over the final three innings, helping himself by throwing out Hunter Mason at home on a steal attempt, and struck out three of his final six hitters.

“He was strong. He struggled early on,” Darr said. “Good pitchers a lot of times will struggle early. But he found his niche later on as we got into the game.”

Searcy starter Ross Harrison worked 4 2/3 innings, giving up Cabot’s big fifth and taking the loss after striking out three and walking two. Right fielder Bryson Scott relieved Harrison in the fifth and pitched 2 ½ hitless innings with four strikeouts and no walks.