Friday, July 12, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Centennial Bank, Colts end in draw

Leader sportswriter

The Cabot Red Centennial Bank junior American Legion team nearly left Cabot City Park with a walk-off win over North Little Rock’s junior team on Tuesday, but Colts right-fielder Zane Venetta gunned down Cabot’s Ethan Holland at the plate to end the seventh inning and the game in a 6-6 tie.

North Little Rock totaled just four base hits in the game, but managed to score three runs in the first inning alone to take an early 3-0 lead. Cabot Red cut the margin to 3-2 by the end of the third, and at the end of the fourth inning the game was knotted up at four apiece.

Both teams added two more runs to the board in the fifth to set the final score, but Cabot Red (5-16-1) gave itself a chance in the bottom of the seventh. Ethan Holland started things off with a single to left-centerfield.

Holland stole second base to get into scoring position, but Colts pitcher Blaine Miller was able to keep the home team in check as Cabot got down to its last out. Josh Kelpine then came to the plate, representing the winning run, and Kelpine hit a clutch two-out single to right field.

Cabot Red assistant coach Andrew Reynolds waved Holland around third base as Venetta fielded the ball, and Venetta hurled a beeline throw to the plate to easily get Holland for the third out of the inning. When the inning ended so did the game because the one-hour-and-45-minute time limit had expired.

Reynolds was pleased overall with the way his team played and said he had no regrets about any decisions he made, especially at the end.

“I sent him and if it were the same play I’d send him again,” Reynolds said. “(Venetta) made a good throw, made the play and got him out. In the last inning of the game I’m going to take that chance every time. Today was a big improvement. I like the way they fought back.

“In the top of the sixth (North Little Rock) scored two runs, we came back and got two back – we fought hard. We’ve struggled lately, but most of the games we lost we shouldn’t have lost because of a stupid error here or there. It was good to see them fight this game because the last game they just rolled over and took it. Today we fought back and that’s what I like to see.”

North Little Rock used five different pitchers in Tuesday’s game. Along with Cabot Red, both teams have been very active as of late, but Colts coach Randy Sandefur would’ve liked to have seen his team play with more consistency against the junior Centennial Bank squad.

“I think overall it just wasn’t very good,” Sandefur said. “Our last guy that came in threw it OK. He threw last night a little bit so he wasn’t real sharp. I just don’t think we pitched ahead in the count. We didn’t pitch ahead in the count near enough. We didn’t make but a couple of errors today but they were real costly.

“There were three or four of our guys that normally get a hit or two. Today they hit it, but they hit it on the nose (of the bat). (Cabot) was behind and they did a good job of coming back, but they made some errors too now. We didn’t score six earned runs and they didn’t score six earned runs.

“So if you’re out here watching this game the middle of it was ugly to watch. But, you know, the kids competed and that’s all you can ask them to do.”

Reed Shepard, Lawson Dulin, Jake Morris and Ben Parmer rounded out the junior Colts’ hit total. For Cabot, leadoff hitter Braden Jarnagin and Kelpine had two hits apiece, while Kayde Ridgeway, Jarrett Pitchford and Holland each had one hit.