Wednesday, July 25, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Panther rally not enough for win

Leader sports editor

Cabot got off to a good start in the Zone 3 American Legion baseball tournament with a 10-8 win over Jacksonville, but lost its next two games at North Little Rock’s Burns Park to bring the season to a close.

The Centennial Bank squad fell 10-9 to Sylvan Hills on Friday, then lost 10-5 to North Little Rock on Sunday.

In Friday’s game, Sylvan Hills grabbed an early lead, but Cabot came back with four runs in the fifth inning to briefly claim a 6-5 advantage. Sylvan Hills answered with three in the top of the sixth and never trailed again.

Sunday’s loss was a pitcher’s duel for five innings with the Colts taking a 1-0 lead in the second on a triple by Mike Hodge and sacrifice fly by Colt outfielder Wes Freeland.

Things began to come loose for Cabot in the sixth inning. Starting pitcher Cole Thomas, who had given up four hits and no walks through five innings, walked the first two batters of the sixth.

Hodge then singled with a bloop infield hit, but an error at first base allowed both base runners to score and Hodge to move to third base.

Gunner Allen then single to score Hodge for a 4-0 North Little Rock lead.

At the top of the order in the seventh, the Colts began to hit the ball off reliever Kyle Kaufman. Ryan Johnson led off with a triple and Nick Cleveland hit an RBI single to right field. Kaufman fanned Tyson Tackett, but then gave up another triple cleanup hitter Dillon Richardson.

Cabot coach Craig Nyborg put Ryan Logan on the mound, who gave up another triple to Hodge.

After getting Wes Free-land to ground out to second base, Allen singled to drive in another run and Jacob Stripling doubled to score Allen for a 9-0 Colt lead. Jack Hopkins walked and Johnson singled to right field on his second at bat of the inning.

Needing one more run to end the game on the sportsmanship rule, Stripling tried to score on Johnson’s hit despite a bad break on the ball, and was thrown out at home.

Cabot took advantage of the opportunity granted by the base running mistake, but the hole was too deep to climb out of.

Justin Goff hit a two-run home run in the top of the eighth to make it 9-2. The Colts added a run in the bottom of the eighth and Cabot mounted another rally in the ninth.

With one out, Cabot got the next six batters on base, but could only manage three runs. Grant Bell walked before Bryson Morris, Tristan Bulice and Casey Vaughan hit consecutive singles. Vaughan’s hit scored Bell to make it 10-3. Goff drew an RBI walk and Tyler Carter was hit by a pitch to drive in another run.

With the bases still loaded and one out, Dustin Morris popped up back to the pitcher and Thomas hit into a 4-6 fielder’s choice to end the game.