Friday, April 04, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot scores late for victory

Leader sports editor

The nonconference record may not be that impressive, but the Cabot softball team has been solid when it counts the most. The Lady Panthers improved to 2-0 in 7A/6A East Conference play with a 13-6 victory over Marion Tuesday in Crittenden County.

Twelve of those 13 runs came in the last three innings, as Cabot found itself down 3-1 after five.

“I’ve been saying it for a while and we’re starting to do it, put the ball in play,” said Cabot coach Chris Cope. “We only struck out three times, so that’s better. We’ve been wanting to get that down. We are starting to force them to play defense and do something with it.”

Errors played a big role in Cabot’s comeback, as did patience at the plate. The Lady Panthers got just six base hits, but drew seven walks while the Lady Patriots’ defense fell apart late in the game.

But it wasn’t just home-team errors that made the difference, Cabot did a good job of getting timely hits, and executed the small-ball game well.

“We didn’t get a lot of hits, but we got them when we needed them,” Cope said. “We got some sacrifice bunts that put runners in position to score when we got those hits. We just executed a lot better. It took a little while to get started, but we had some things we’ve been wanting to do and it finally played out.”

The Lady Panthers, 4-6 overall, also played good defense, committing no errors for the second-consecutive game.

Lauren McCluskey pitched all seven innings, giving up seven hits while striking out two and walking four.

“Lauren pitched well,” Cope said. “We don’t have a pitcher that’s going to shut teams down. Teams are going to put it in play against us and we’re going to have to play good defense. We’ve been doing that for the most part.”

Rachel Allgood was the only Lady Panther with multiple hits.

The leadoff hitter went 2 for 5. Erin Eckert went 1 for 2 with three walks and scored four runs.

“We’re 2-0 in conference so we’ll take it,” Cope said.

The Lady Panthers hosted West Memphis in another 7A/6A East matchup on Friday. Look for details of that matchup in Wednesday’s edition of The Leader.

They will also host Mountain Home on Tuesday.

“That’s going to be a big one,” Cope said. “They’re all big, but Mountain Home always has a pretty strong program.”