Wednesday, May 29, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot's Jr. Red picks up first win at Burns

Leader sportswriter

The Cabot Centennial Bank Red junior American Legion team earned its first win of the season on Friday, edging the Little Rock Pythons 5-4 in the first game of the North Little Rock Memorial Day tournament at Burns Park. Cabot couldn’t find any offense in the second day of the tournament as it was shutout 7-0 on Saturday against the Pine Bluff Tigers.

Mike Havard earned the win on the hill against Little Rock. Jacob Wamack got the start for Cabot Red (1-2) against Pine Bluff (1-0), a team full of 17-year olds, and held his own through four innings of work.

Wamack struck out two batters and gave up just three hits in his time on the mound. One of those hits was a clear foul ball down the third baseline in the first inning that was ruled fair, and two runs scored on the play. It was the only runs allowed by Wamack.

“Our pitching was decent,” said Cabot Red coach David Smith. “Wamack did a really good job shutting them down for four innings. He held them to two runs and those came off, in my opinion, a foul ball. It was a foot foul. His pitch count got up and, you know, we’ve been struggling with pitching. We’ve got to keep our pitches down, so we had to make a change.”

The score remained 2-0 after four innings of play. Cabot Red failed to get a single base hit off of Tigers’ pitcher Cameron Banks. Banks struck out eight Cabot batters and walked just two in the complete game effort. Cabot totaled just four base runners in the six innings played, and none of them ever advanced past first base.

Cabot tried to steal second base twice on Tigers’ catcher Brandon Starks, but Starks threw out both runners with relative ease on two near-perfect throws to second base. Even though Cabot couldn’t get any offense going, it was still a tight game through four innings as Wamack kept the Tigers’ lineup at bay.

However, with his pitch count high, Wamack was relieved after the fourth inning by Ethan Holland, and Holland struggled early with his control. Holland walked the first two batters he faced and Banks, the Tigers’ cleanup hitter, made him pay for it the next at bat with a hard-hit single to deep left-centerfield that scored both runners, giving Pine Bluff a 4-0 lead.

The next batter, Percy Arnold, walked, and J-Mar Johnson followed with a two-RBI double to right field to put the Tigers up 6-0. Starks was the next batter up and he set the final score with a double of his own, this one to left field, which allowed Johnson to cross home plate.

“Their pitcher was a decent pitcher,” Smith said of Banks. “All of those kids are 17 and we’re young. He had a tough fastball and we couldn’t get a hold of it. We had a few chances with runners on, but not enough.”