Friday, July 12, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Searcy ends Jr. White’s streak

Leader sportswriter

Cabot White’s junior American Legion team was on a nine-game win streak entering Tuesday’s home matchup with Searcy, but in that game the fresher legs prevailed as the Centennial Bank squad fell 3-2 to end the streak at nine games.

Searcy was able to take advantage of Cabot’s adjusted lineup. Several of the White team’s usual starters sat because of a marathon game the night before. In Monday’s game, the White Centennial Bank junior team beat the Little Rock Diamondbacks 7-6 on a walk-off home run by Austin Null in the 10th inning to extend the team’s win streak.

Cabot White assistant coach Justin Moore said his team didn’t leave the ball park in Little Rock till around midnight, which appeared to have a lot to do with the lack of offensive production against Searcy.

“We had a marathon game last night and we played till like 12 o’clock,” Moore said. “A lot of my guys got really tired last night – a lot of dehydration and cramping and stuff. I had to rest some legs. I tried to get a few guys in there later to get an at bat, but overall, we played a lot of guys like we always do all year, it just didn’t work out for us tonight.”

Cabot White (27-8) totaled just three hits off of Searcy starting pitcher Austin Allen, who threw all seven innings in the winning effort. Allen almost appeared to be getting stronger as the game progressed. He finished the game with 10 strikeouts and just two walks.

“We ran into a really good pitcher tonight,” Moore said of Allen. “He had a really live arm and had a good breaking ball. He played a good game.”

The first four innings was a pitchers’ duel as Allen battled with Centennial Bank starter Tyler Gilbert. Gilbert threw four innings for the home team and like Allen, he recorded 10 strikeouts, but also gave up five walks, one of which led to the game’s first run.

Searcy leadoff hitter Aaron Decker walked to start the top of the third inning. The fleet-footed Decker stole second and third base and scored on a bad throw to third during the steal, which gave Searcy a 1-0 lead.

Gilbert held Searcy scoreless in the fourth inning, but was pulled at the end of the inning for relief pitcher Drake Boroughs. Boroughs walked two batters and only got one Searcy batter out in his one-third inning of work.

Dylan Bowers came in to relieve Boroughs, but Searcy was able to score its final two runs in that inning to take a 3-0 lead after four and a half innings. Cabot, though, finally got on the board its next at bat.

Bowers was hit by a pitch to lead off the fifth. He advanced to second base on a balk by Allen, and with two outs, scored on a dropped fly ball in left field that was hit by Null, the team’s two-hole hitter.

Tyler Tucker took over pitching duties for the final two innings and kept Searcy at bay for the remainder of the game. Cabot added its final run in the sixth inning. Adam Hicks came into the game and led off the sixth with a single to the gap in left field.

Hicks stole second base before scoring the next at bat on a rare bloop double to right field by Gavin Tillery, who also came off the bench to pinch hit. As the ball landed it took an awkward bounce toward the left field line, which allowed the fleet-footed Hicks to score with ease, setting the final score.

Cabot had a chance to at least end the game in a tie in the bottom of seventh inning as Bowers was on third base with two outs, but Allen struck out pinch-hitter Jonathan Latture to give Searcy the win.

Searcy narrowly outhit Cabot 4-3. Tucker, Hicks and Tillery totaled Cabot’s three hits. For Searcy, Seth Johnson was the only player with multiple hits. He had two, while Lee Chambers and Colton Joyner each had one hit.