Friday, February 24, 2012

SPORTS >> Good pitching lifts Cabot to season-opening victory

Leader sports editor

The Cabot Panthers opened the season with a win over Lonoke in an Arkansas Activities Association benefit game on Tuesday. The hosting Jackrabbits hung in there with the class 7A Panthers, but couldn’t generate any runs as Cabot won the game 6-0.

“Their first couple of pitchers were pretty good and we had little trouble getting going at the plate,” Cabot coach Jay Fitch said. “They may not have the talent up and down the lineup that your Catholics or Conways or North Little Rocks have, but if you don’t come to play they can beat you. We had some strikeouts at crucial times, but we made decent contact and it was ok for a first outing.”

The Lonoke pitching never gave up a huge inning, but Cabot hitting was able to put at least one run across the plate in five of the seven innings. The only multi-run inning was the fifth, when the Panthers scored two runs.

The best thing about the outing for Fitch was Cabot’s pitching. Fitch threw five different pitchers, all of whom combined to give up one run and strike out 13 batters.

“It would be a tough job of mine to pick which one did the best,” Fitch said. “One of my big question marks going in is that we didn’t have an ace. But they were all throwing strikes, getting ahead in the count and throwing the curveball and changeup for strikes. I was very impressed with that even though we weren’t lighting the radar up.”

Ryan Logan pitched the first two innings for Cabot and got the win. Chipper Morris threw the third and fourth innings and gave up the only hit in the game, a blooper just over second base. Zachary Patters threw the fifth inning and didn’t allow a baserunner.

Kason Kimbrell and Casey Vaughan threw the sixth and seventh innings and didn’t even allow any contact. Each hurler struck out the side to close the game.

Cabot scored one run in the second inning, one in the fourth, two in the fifth and one each in the sixth and seventh innings.

The Panthers, who play the majority of their games away this season because their new campus facility is under construction, have a busy week next week.

On Monday they travel to Little Rock to take on Mills University Studies. They’re at Beebe on Tuesday, Batesville on Friday and begin the Red Devil Classic at Jacksonville on Saturday.