Tuesday, April 22, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Panthers rally late, pummel Lions

Leader sports editor

The Cabot Lady Panthers got a two-hitter from pitcher Lauren McCluskey and busted open a scoreless game in the fifth inning to pummel hosting Searcy 13-0 on Friday in a 7A/6A East matchup.

Cabot was without a hit through four innings, and had gone two-up and two-down in the top of the fifth when all that suddenly changed.

The Lady Panthers got four-straight base hits, starting with eight-hole hitter Lane Justus. Shauna Attendorn and leadoff hitter Rachel Allgood followed with singles before Erin Eckert doubled to drive in the game’s first two runs. A Searcy error off Heather Hill’s bat scored another run, and Molly Wood singled for two more RBIs and a 5-0 Cabot lead.

Brandyn Vines got a hit to start the sixth inning, but she was thrown out at third later in the inning and two fly outs made it another three-up, three-down inning.

The seventh inning, however, was huge for the Lady Panthers.

Attendorn hit a leadoff double and scored on a single by Allgood. Eckert then hit her second double of the game before Hill recorded the first out with a liner to second base. Wood walked before back-to-back errors on ground balls scored two runs and left Macee Abbott and Vines safe.

Kaitlyn Felder then hit a two-RBI double before Justus recorded the second out. Attendorn stepped to the plate for the second time in the inning, and for the second time hit a stand-up double. This one scored Abbott and Vines to make it 11-0 and left her and Felder in scoring position for Allgood, who made good with a two-RBI base hit that set the final margin.

“We finally woke up,” said Cabot coach Chris Cope about his team’s hitting and scoring burst in the fifth inning. “It wasn’t really well-done, but we’ll take it.”

McCluskey went the distance on the mound for Cabot. She gave up one hit in the second and one in the fifth while striking out three and walking no one.

The Lady Panthers improve to 9-0 in conference play and remain alone atop the East standings. They played another conference game at West Memphis on Tuesday and will host Paragould on Thursday. Look for details of those games in Saturday’s Leader.