Friday, July 26, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Centennial Bank loses big lead to Armor Seed

Leader sports editor

BRYANT – The sun never came out to dry up the playing conditions, but Cabot’s big lead evaporated as Jonesboro Armor-Seed took a 9-8 win in eight innings Friday in the first round of the Junior American Legion Mid-South Regional tournament.

Cabot jumped on Armor Seed quickly with four runs in the top of the first inning and then three more in the second for a quick 7-0 lead. But the Panthers couldn’t score again as Jonesboro (35-9) came back to tie the game with a four-run third and three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Cabot scored one in the top of the first extra frame, but Jonesboro scored two in the bottom half to steal the victory.

Cabot pitcher Adam Hicks was solid through six innings, save a brief lapse in the fourth inning when the rain came down the hardest, making anything but fastballs difficult to control.

But he couldn’t record an out after facing four batters in the seventh inning. He left with a 7-5 lead and the bases loaded. Hicks had struck out Jonesboro leadoff hitter Storm Parks three times, so a change was made to start the seventh. Grant Moore came to bat and reached on an error at second base. Hicks walked Tyler Cole and designated hitter Jordan Volner hit an RBI double to right field. Hicks then hit Austin Behtune and was finished for the game.

Gavin Tillery took the mound and got the next two batters out, but both were sacrifice RBIs and the game was tied at the end of regulation.

Cabot scored its first run since the second inning in the top of the eighth when catcher Chris Odom hit an RBI single to right field to score Dalten Hurst, who had drawn a leadoff walk to start the inning.

In the bottom of the eighth, the rain picked up again. Tillery, who depends on breaking and off-speed pitches, struggled to throw them for strikes in the wet weather. Falling back on the fastball, Jonesboro hit it well. Tillery got just one batter out on a sacrifice bunt while walking one and giving up three hits in taking the loss.

Cabot (33-13) looked to run away with the game early.

Leadoff hitter Jonathan Latture got a four-run first inning started by taking a pitch to the shoulder. After a groundout, Catcher Chris Odom singled to score Latture. Brandon Jones walked and two base runners pulled off a double steal to get both into scoring position. Gavin Tillery then singled to left field for two RBIs and a 3-0 Cabot lead.

Adam Hicks then doubled to centerfield. After a pop up to shortstop, Tyler Gilbert and Trent Frizzel drew back-to-back walks with Frizzel’s free pass scoring Tillery for the final run of the inning.

Another hit batter got the ball rolling for the Centennial Bank squad in the second inning. Odom took the pitch with one out, and two errors on the next at bat allowed him to score.

Brandon Jones’ grounder to third base went between the legs of Jonesboro’s Austin Bethune. Odom rounded third with the ball in shallow left field and in the hands of Trey Hall. Hall’s throw was in plenty of time to get Odom out at the plate, but also about 15 feet over the catcher’s head. Odom scored and Jones got all the way to third on the play.

Tillery walked before Hicks hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Jones from third, but Tillery also scored when right fielder Blake Holley’s throw was also over the head of catcher Luke Sexton.

Jonesboro turned things around on Cabot starting pitcher Adam Hicks in the fourth inning. Armor Seed banged out four base hits after being held hitless through three, and scored four runs.

Volner started the inning with a double to centerfield for Jonesboro. Austin Bethune singled to left by Volner couldn’t advance. Nash Thomas singled to drive in one run and Blake Holley was hit by Hicks to load the bases. Sexton hit a sacrifice to right field and Reed Fishbacher singled to right field to score Thomas. Latture then made a poor throw to the plate, which allowed Holley to also score on Fishbacher’s base hit and pulled Jonesboro within 7-4.