Tuesday, June 21, 2011

SPORTS >> Centennial does well at Classic

Leader sports editor

Despite a heartbreaking, last-at-bat loss in the championship of the Sheridan Wood Bat Classic, the Cabot senior American Legion team had a good run in the event.

The Centennial Bank squad picked up four straight wins in the tournament, and ran its overall winning streak to six before dropping the final game.

Cabot coach Craig Nyborg, who coached the semifinal and final game due to head coach Jay Darr’s dead-period enforced absence, was pleased with the team’s overall effort.

“I thought we got good pitching, we hit pretty well through most of the tournament, and we didn’t make a lot of mistakes. The way that last game ended is heartbreaking. The guys really wanted to win that one, but we played pretty well.”

Cole Nicholson, who Nyborg said was only about 85 percent on Sunday, overcame the adversity and threw a complete-game shutout to beat Hot Springs Lakeside 2-0 and advance to the title game.

“He just kept going out there and throwing really well,” Nyborg said. “I asked him after every inning how he felt, and he kept saying he could go. I think he actually got better as the game went on.”

Cabot’s first run came on an error at third base. Brandon Surdam got a base hit and Nicholson laid down a sacrifice bunt. Lakeside’s third baseman overthrew first, allowing Surdam to score and Nicholson to advance to third.

In the fourth, Matt Evans reached on another E5, stole second, was sacrificed to third by Tyler Erickson, and scored on a Dustin Morris RBI base hit.

That was all the team needed with Nicholson throwing a two-hitter.

Cabot had some trouble with Lakeside’s southpaw pitcher.

“He was just a soft-tossing lefty who was hitting the corners really well,” Nyborg said. Any lefty who’s throwing strikes on the corners is tough. When you got one who’s just tossing it up there, you have to adjust to that too. It was a struggle all day.”

On Friday in the final game of pool play, Cabot beat Pine Bluff National Bank 5-2 to win the pool with a 3-0 record and advance to Sunday’s tournament round.

Erickson started on the mound and threw two innings, giving up just one hit and no runs before yielding to Casey Vaughan.

Vaughan went the rest of the way, giving up just three hits while striking out nine and walking two in his five innings on the mound.

Offensively, Bryson Morris, Evans and Jarred Wilson picked up two hits each to account for six of the team’s eight base hits in the game.

Evans drove in three runs with his single and double, while Justin Goff added an RBI to season totals with a base hit.

Andrew Reynolds provided the other hit for Cabot in the game.

In the finals, Cabot got just five base hits. One each from Evans, Erickson and Jordan Castillow. Surdam got two singles to the left side in the loss, while Castillow’s RBI double in the fourth inning was the only extra base hit for Cabot.

The Centennial Bank senior team gets back to zone play tonight at Russellville, then travels to Conway on Saturday for another zone matchup.

Cabot trails Jacksonville by just one game in the zone standings, and is now 9-4 on the season.

It split with Jacksonville in its two zone games, with each team winning at home by nine runs.