Monday, June 03, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Centennial seniors lose to Fort Smith

Leader sports editor

Fort Smith Kerwins gave the Cabot senior American Legion team several chances, but the Centennial Bank squad couldn’t capitalize in a 3-2 Kerwins win Wednesday in Cabot.

The visiting Sportsmen were aggressive on the base paths, and that aggression got three runners thrown out at home plate. One poor decision directly cost Kerwins two runs, but Cabot could get nothing going for most of the game off Fort Smith pitcher Chris Hunt.

He carried a no hitter into the fourth inning before Ryan Logan and Riley Knudsen got back-to-back hits with one out. Casey Vaughan grounded out to shortstop to score Logan and tie the game at one run apiece.

Cabot coach Cody Whitworth had his pitchers on a strict pitch count, and removed Logan from the mound after three and a third innings despite being in the middle of a solid performance.

Logan had given up three hits and had just recorded his fifth strikeout when Whitworth replaced him with Bryson Morris.

Just like Logan, Morris gave up a double to the first batter he faced, Nate Whitson. He then issued a walk and gave up a single to leadoff hitter Hayden Harvey. Harvey’s shot to left field should have loaded the bases, but Whitson tried to score from second and was gunned down at the plate by Logan.

Morris then got Chris Davis to ground out to first base to get out of the jam.

Fort Smith got on the board quickly. Harvey doubled to the power alley in left field and reach third on a sacrifice bunt by Davis. Harvey then scored on a passed ball by catcher Tristan Bulice.

Cabot tied it in the fourth and Kerwins reclaimed the lead in the top of the seventh off reliever Kyle Kaufman. Harvey got his second double of the game. Kaufman then hit Davis with a pitch.

Harvey tried to steal third when new catcher Hayden Vinson blocked a pitch in the dirt. Vinson gathered the ball and fired to Bulice at third in plenty of time to get Harvey for the first out of the inning.

Another play at third on the next pitch didn’t go Cabot’s way. Fort Smith catcher Jordan Miller grounded to shortstop. Conner Vocque fielded the ball cleanly and threw to Bulice, who applied the tag to Miller’s foot. But Miller knocked Bulice’s glove off his hand, causing the umpire to first call the runner out, then safe.

Davis then scored on a deep fly ball to right field by cleanup hitter Max Schaeffer to give the Sportsmen a 2-1 lead.

Controversy struck again in the bottom of the seventh for Cabot. Grayson Cole singled with two outs to put runners at first and second. Miller made a strong pickoff throw from the plate to first base.

Sportsmen first baseman Houston Kennedy applied the tag and began to run off the field, but the field umpire called Cole safe. Fort Smith coaches argued that Cole never made it back to the bag. After a meeting of the umpire crew, Cole was called out, drawing protest from the Cabot coach. Whitworth’s arguments were to no avail, and the reversal stood.

Cabot (0-4) tied it in the eighth with an unearned run. Morris reached on an error at first base. After stealing second, he scored on a hit by Vocque with two outs.

Fort Smith got the game-winning run in the top of the ninth with no outs. Harvey walked and Davis singled to set things up for Miller, who doubled to left field to score Harvey.

Schaeffer then flew out to shallow right field and again Fort Smith tried to score. And again Cole threw Davis out easily for a 9-2 double play.

Kennedy then singled, which would have scored two runs if Davis had stayed put, but only left runners at first and third.

Cabot got its first two batters on base to start the bottom of the ninth, but couldn’t get the tying run across the plate.