Friday, May 30, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot girls collapse in round two

Special to The Leader

Conway – When the Cabot softball team took the field for their first game of the 7A state softball tournament at City of Colleges Park in Conway, the Lady Panthers (15-11) ran upon a Springdale Har-Ber (21-8) team that outhit them 17-9 and outscored them 15-4 to put an end to their season.

The Lady Panthers left nine runners on base, and twice left the bases loaded. Cabot had earned a first round bye as the Central No. 2 seed, and weather delays made for a 5 p.m. Saturday game time. The Har-Ber Lady Wildcats had played Friday and defeated the Mount St. Mary Lady Belles 3-0.

“It was a tough loss,” said Cabot head coach Chris Cope. “Our girls came out and fought every inning. We had every opportunity. We had two innings where we had the bases loaded and didn’t come up with runs, and we had some errors early that hurt us. Give it to Har-Ber, they put the ball in play and made things happen, and we just didn’t. But our girls played hard all the way through, and I can’t fault them for that.”

Har-Ber batted first as the visitors and went down in order. Cabot, on the other hand, got a leadoff double by Brandyn Vines, and a two-out line drive single into right by Hannah Montgomery scored her to give the Lady Panthers the early 1-0 lead. The Lady Wildcats answered back in the top of the second with one run of their own on two hits and an error to tie the game at 1-1.

Cabot did not score in the bottom of the frame, and Har-Ber added two runs in the top of the third as they loaded the bases with no outs, then had two sacrifice flies to score two runners from third.

The Lady Panthers went in order in the bottom of the inning, and the lead was 3-1 for the Lady Wildcats.

The lead increased in the top of inning number four as Har-Ber got five hits after the first two batters were out, and five runs crossed the plate. Montgomery took over the pitching duties from starting pitcher Lauren McCluskey, and got a groundout to end the inning.
Cabot responded with three runs in its half of the inning to narrow the gap to 8-4.

Montgomery led off with a single. Payton Stedman came on to run in her place and was on base as Macee Abbott hit the ball over the fence in left-center field for a two-run home run.

Molly Wood followed with a single. Parker Steadman entered to pinch run, reached second on a grounder to the shortstop, and scored on a dropped throw by the first baseman. Vines and Rachel Allgood walked to load the bases, but after a pitching change, Heather Hill went down on strikes to end the inning.

Neither team scored in the fifth, although Abbott picked up her second hit of the game for Cabot, a double to right-center field.

Har-Ber had its biggest inning in the top of the sixth, adding seven runs on seven hits, one walk, and one hit by pitch to push the lead to the final 15-4 margin.
The Lady Panthers had to score twice in the bottom of the frame for the game to continue. Cabot loaded the bases as Erin Eckert reached on an error, Vines singled, and Hill reached on an infield hit, but with two outs, Montgomery grounded out to the shortstop for the final out.

Abbott led the team in hitting with a home run, a double and a walk, Vines was 2 for 3 and a walk, and Montgomery was 2 for 4.