Tuesday, March 25, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> CHS falls at Farmington

Leader sports editor

The Cabot softball team wasn’t able to capitalize on the momentum of beating the defending state champs earlier in the week. The Lady Panthers took part in the Farmington-Fayetteville tournament over the weekend and went 0-3.

“I don’t know, we just hit a lull or something,” said Cabot coach Chris Cope. “We started out beating Batesville, who is good. We lost to Beebe by one run on an error, and then we beat North Little Rock, who has all but one player back from the state championship team. Then we get to this tournament and just didn’t play. Maybe it was a lull after that high of beating North Little Rock. Maybe we were looking forward to spring break. I don’t know, but we didn’t play well at all.”

The sign that it would be a long weekend came quickly. Cabot opened the tournament against Fort Smith Northside on Friday and lost 8-7. The Lady Panthers hit the ball well, out-hitting the Lady Bears by a wide margin, but dug a hole early with bad defense that they couldn’t climb out of.

Cabot committed seven errors in the first inning alone, giving up seven runs.

“That’s not exaggeration,” Cope said. “Seven errors in the first inning, and I think it was the first seven batters.”

The Lady Panthers went on to play better defense the rest of the tournament, but could never get the bats going like they were against North Little Rock, when the team hit five home runs.

On Saturday, Cabot, 2-4, lost 3-1 to Pea Ridge and 7-0 to Rogers before the tournament was called off because of rain.

Mena was declared the winner of the tournament for having won the winners’ bracket. Farmington was up 3-2 on Greenbrier in the semifinals of the losers’ bracket with the winner advancing to face Conway when play was halted.

Cabot and Beebe will host the Beebe-Cabot Invitational on Saturday. The Lady Panthers open play at 10 a.m. against Bauxite. Brookland takes on Atkins at 11:30 a.m. in Cabot. In Beebe, the Lady Badgers play Cedar Ridge at 10 a.m. and Bryant faces Salem at 11:30 a.m.

“I still think we have a team that can compete with anybody,” Cope said. “But we’re going to have to play a lot better than we did, and it’s going to have to start soon. This Beebe-Cabot tournament has good teams in it too.

“But hey, we’re still 1-0 in conference and that was against the top team in the conference coming in. So we’re still in a good spot where it really counts. We’re young and we just have to learn how to not let these things happen.”