Tuesday, March 08, 2011

SPORTS >> Nicholson no-hits Pats for Panthers

Leader sports editor

Cole Nicholson was grateful to his Cabot teammates for the many runs they gave him Monday.

But really, Nicholson only needed one.

The Panthers’ right-hander no-hit the Little Rock Parkview Patriots in a 10-0, run-ruled victory in the home opener at Conrade Sports Complex.

The game ended in five innings after center fielder Brandon Surdam dumped a bloop single over first base to drive in Nicholson. But, five innings, seven innings or extra innings, the no-hitter was still special to Nicholson.

“I’ve gotten close but I’ve never gotten one,” Nicholson said. “It doesn’t matter as long as you shut them down.”

Nicholson only had to deal with one base runner, thanks to a second-inning error. While walking none, he struck out seven, setting the tone when he retired Parkview in order in the first.

“I felt really good out on the mound,” Nicholson said. “I felt like everything was working. My changeup was pretty nasty today. That was the one that was working most effectively.”

Meanwhile, the Cabot offense was pacing Nicholson to a big lead with a seven-run first. Nicholson doubled and scored on a wild pitch in the inning while Justin Goff hit an RBI single and Zachery Patterson added a two-run double as 12 Panthers batted.

“It always makes me feel a little bit better starting off the game with a lot of runs so I can relax a little bit more,” Nicholson said.

Parkview, which used most of its roster, replaced starter Caleb Jenkins with Caylon Harden after the first inning, and Harden held Cabot in check for most of the rest of the game.

“The kid wasn’t overpowering but he was doing a good job of throwing outside,” Cabot coach Jay Fitch said. “And we were doing a bad job of going to the right side of the field with it. We were trying to pull that we were getting nubbers back to the pitcher and weak ground balls.”

Surdam reached on an error, stole second and scored on T.C. Carter’s single in the fourth. Bryson Morris singled with two out in the fifth, Nicholson drove him in with a single to center and Surdam ended it when drove in Nicholson.

Nicholson was 2 for 4 with two runs and an RBI and was the only Panther with more than one hit. Morris walked twice and scored twice while Nicholson and Surdam also scored two runs apiece.

Monday’s victory was gratifying to Fitch after the Panthers opened the season 0-3 at the Benton tournament.