Tuesday, July 19, 2011

SPORTS >> Cabot seniors advance to state

Leader sports editor

The Centennial Bank American Legion squad has secured its spot in the state tournament that begins tomorrow at Nettleton. It did it with wins on Thursday, Friday and Sunday in the Zone 3 tournament at Burns Park in North Little Rock.

It played in the tournament title game last night after Leader deadlines, but the slot in state was already assured.

Cabot got an easy opening win over Sylvan Hills Thursday night, then had to rally in the last inning to beat tournament host North Little Rock 7-6 Saturday evening.

The team followed the nail-biter with a shocking 22-4 shellacking of Russellville in the finals of the winners’ bracket to assure itself a top-two finish and a slot on the state-tournament bracket.

Russellville was the event’s top seed and had only played one game, a 13-1 run-rule shortened win over Jacksonville, while Cabot had to go through five total pitchers in its two outings.

The scoreboard stayed in perfect symmetry through five innings against North Little Rock. Cabot opened the scoring with three runs in the top of the third, and the Colts answered with three in the bottom of the third. When Cabot took a two-run lead in the top of the fifth, the Colts answered with two in the bottom of the same inning.

Things finally changed when North Little Rock added a run in the bottom of the seventh to take its first lead of the game.

After the two teams went scoreless in the eighth, Cabot added two in the top of the ninth to take its first lead since the fifth.

Casey Vaughan led off with a walk, and a bunt by leadoff hitter Bryson Morris moved him to second base. A groundout by Justin Goff got him to third with two outs. Matt Evans then singled to left field to score the runner and tie the game.

Tyler Erickson then stepped to the plate and instantly fell into a 0-2 hole in the count. After fouling off a couple of pitches, still facing 0-2, Erickson uncorked a double off the wall in straightaway centerfield to score Evans and put his squad ahead.

Evans then took the mound for Centennial in the bottom of the frame, and put the Colts down in order for the first time in the game to seal the victory.

Evans not only got the win on the mound in his one inning of work, he also went 3 for 5 at the plate, scoring two runs and driving in three.

Erickson went 2 for 4 with two doubles, two runs scored and an RBI.

Cole Nicholson started on the mound for Cabot and turned in a good performance. He went six innings, gave up five hits and four earned runs, while striking out six and walking three. Kyle Kaufman relieved him in the seventh. He threw two innings of two-hit ball, giving up one earned run while fanning and walking two apiece.

Centennial came back on Sunday and turned in a brilliant offensive performance in the win over Russellville’s Cogswell Motors team.

The team piled up 18 base hits, four each from Goff and Erickson. Erickson added three more doubles to his extra-base hit total, while two of Goff’s four went for extra bases. Bryson Morris picked up three hits, including two doubles. Evans, Andrew Reynolds and Jarred Wilson each got two base hits. One of Evans’ was a triple.

Evans also got his second win on the mound, this time going more than one inning. He started and went the distance, giving up five hits and two earned runs while striking out eight and walking seven.

The three wins lift Cabot’s overall record to 17-8.