Tuesday, July 10, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Team 1 secures spot in junior state

Leader sports editor

While most of central Arkansas still has not received much benefit from the front that was supposed to bring rain, North Little Rock’s Burns Park, the site of the Junior American Legion Zone 3 tournament, has been targeted by storms. The result has been a hindering of the tournament schedule with four games so far being postponed and the tournament being extended at least a day.

Cabot Junior Team 1 prevailed in the winner’s bracket, beating Jacksonville 16-11 in a wild game on Sunday night and will have be beaten twice for the zone title.

Both finalists will advance to the state tournament. Cabot Team 1 has secured a spot at state by winning its first three games. Jacksonville faces Clarksville to determine the other team that advances.

Early tournament results saw Cabot Team 1 beat Conway 14-1 and Jacksonville beat Beebe 16-1 on Friday before a storm hit and postponed the day’s final two games. Play resumed on Saturday with Sylvan Hills beating Cabot Team 2 and North Little Rock beating Clarksville.

Cabot Team 1 beat Sylvan Hills 8-4 and Jacksonville beat North Little Rock 7-6 in the last inning. In the loser’s bracket elimination games, Conway toppled Cabot 2 and Clarksville bested Beebe.

On Sunday, Clarksville beat Conway and North Little Rock while Cabot Team 1 held off Jacksonville.

Monday’s games were rained out, leaving Jacksonville and Clarksville to battle for a spot in the state tournament and the right to play Cabot Team 1 for the Zone 3 title and No. 1 seed. The winner of that game will have to beat Cabot twice.

Cabot Team 1’s win over Jacksonville seemed easy for four innings. After falling behind 1-0in the top of the first inning, the Panthers spent their next four at bats building a 13-2 lead. Cabot scored two in the first inning, four in both the second and third innings and three more in the fourth.

Jacksonville began battling back by scoring five runs in the top of the fifth inning and four more in the top of the sixth to make it 13-11 with an inning and a half left to play.

But Cabot scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth, and brought Landon James to the mound in the seventh. He gave up just one hit, facing four batters and stopping Jacksonville’s offensive onslaught to preserve the victory.

The Panthers got 12 base hits to Jacksonville’s nine. Cabot’s Tristan Bulice led the way, going 3 for 4 with a double and four RBIs. James drove in three runs on just one base hit, but it was a big one, a bases-clearing double to left-centerfield. Gavin Tillery and Lee Sullivan got two base hits each for Cabot Team 1. The Panthers are now 24-14 on the season and have won nine of their last 10 games. They have scored a total of 101 runs in their last nine wins.

The state tournament begins Friday at Sheridan.