Tuesday, June 26, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Centennial Bank turns table on Batesville

Leader sports editor

Tyler Carter put a sudden end to the Cabot Senior American Legion team’s game against Batesville on Sunday. He sent a towering shot over the fence in left field of Cabot City Park to put his team up 10-0 and end the game on the sportsmanship run rule.

The win marked the passing of a major litmus test of the Cabot senior squad. The team opened the season with a doubleheader at Batesville, gave up a combined 28 runs and lost both games. It was the first two of six-straight losses to start the season, but completely turning the tables on Batesville verifies the signs of improvement the team has shown in going 9-4 since the poor start.

Bryson Morris started on the mound and pitched four innings of shutout ball. He faced just 15 batters, giving up three hits while striking out two. Batesville’s only real chance to score was thwarted by bad base running and good defense by Cabot. In the fourth inning, Batesville’s Tyler Lictiker singled and reached second when a throwback to the mound by Carter sailed over Morris’ head and rolled into centerfield. After the second out, Wesley Rudd singled to left field with a one-hop line drive that was fielded too quickly by Cabot’s Cole Thomas for Lictiker to score. But that didn’t stop him from trying. Thomas routinely threw the ball in to cutoff man Tyler Wilkie at third base, just as Lictiker rounded third. Wilkie’s throw home was off the mark and in the dirt, but so far ahead of the runner that Carter had plenty of time to gather it in and tag the runner out.

Cabot (9-10) got its big, early lead primarily due to Batesville pitcher Riley Caraway’s struggles on the mound. He walked three in the first inning and hit another. Casey Vaughan doubled and Carter singled with men on base to give the Centennial Bank squad a 3-0 lead.

After getting Morris to ground out to second to start the second inning, Caraway walked Vaughan, but he was caught stealing for the second out. From there, things fell apart completely for the Batesville hurler.

With two outs and no one on base, Wilkie singled to centerfield. Caraway then walked Carter, Justin Goff, Thomas and Dustin Morris in a row before finally being pulled from the mound. He pitched one and two-thirds innings, faced 17 batters, gave up three hits, seven earned runs while walking eight and hitting another.

He was replaced by Jacob Rawlings, who yielded a hit to Scott Burnett and walked Ryan Logan before getting Bryson Morris to ground out to shortstop to end the inning with Cabot holding a 7-0 lead.

Rawlings put Cabot down in order in the third inning, but walked Goff to lead off the fourth and gave up an RBI single to Logan to make it 8-0.

Vaughan led off the fifth with a single to left and Wilkie lined out to right field, bringing Carter to the plate for his game-ending home run. He finished 2 for 3 with three RBIs.

Thomas pitched the last inning for Cabot, retiring the last three batters in order.

The win followed a doubleheader split at Marion on Saturday. Cabot lost the first game 6-1 and won game two 11-9. Cabot got seven base hits and drew two walks in game one, but couldn’t push runs across the plate. Bryson Morris led the way with two base knocks. Logan pitched all six innings and took the loss.

Vaughan threw game two and got knocked around a bit, giving up 11 base hits and nine earned runs, but Cabot’s offense also got 11 hits, including four for extra bases, to earn the win.

Tristan Bulice went 2 for 2 with two doubles and five RBIs to lead the impressive Cabot offense. Goff went 3 for 3 while Vaughan and Dustin Morris got two base hits apiece.

Carter got one base hit, a home run over the fence that drove in two runs. He now has five home runs this season, one short of the team record set by Junior Team 1 coach Chris Goss in 2006.