Wednesday, July 02, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Benton hits two homers late for win over Cabot

Leader sportswriter

The Cabot Senior American Legion team led Benton through the first four innings of their game Monday at Cabot City Park, but the visitors racked up four runs off two home runs in the top of the fifth, and managed to escape Lonoke County with a narrow 4-3 win.

Cabot scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the first. Centennial Bank shortstop Conner Vocque walked to lead off the inning.

He reached second base on a groundout by Ryan Logan, and scored two batters later on a hard-hit ground ball to shortstop by Coleman McAtee.

The ground ball by McAtee took a bad hop and got by Benton shortstop Jack James, which allowed Vocque to cross home plate with ease. The score remained 1-0 till the fifth inning, and all four of Benton’s runs scored in that inning came with two outs.

James singled to the right-field gap to start the two-out rally, and three-hole hitter Tyler Lewis followed with a two-run home run over the left-field fence, which gave the visiting McClendon’s Appliances team its first lead of the night at 2-1.

Cleanup hitter Clay Holicer singled to left field the next at-bat to keep the rally going, and Cole Southerland set Benton’s run total for the evening with a towering two-run shot to right center, putting the visitors up 4-1.

Cabot did, however, respond with two runs in the bottom part of the inning to cut its deficit to one run. Vocque walked to lead things off, and two batters later, three-hole hitter Riley Knudsen singled up the middle of the diamond to put Vocque in scoring position at second base.

McAtee then came to the plate and hit a slow roller to the pitcher’s mound. As McAtee hustled to first base, the throw to first had to be rushed by starting pitcher Zac Smiley, and was way off the mark as a result.

The errant throw allowed Vocque to score with ease, which cut Benton’s lead to 4-2. Catcher Tristan Bulice walked after McAtee’s at-bat, and Knudsen scored on a sacrifice groundout to first base by Kason Kimbrell. Cabot had its best chance to score again in the bottom of the sixth.

With runners at second and third base with one out, Dylan Bowers came in to pinch hit for Knudsen, and Bowers put the ball in play.

Bowers hit a ground ball to shortstop, but Benton’s James threw home instead of to first base, and the McClendon’s Appliances team got the 6-2 fielder’s choice to preserve the lead.

McAtee then came to the plate with runners still in scoring position, and he hit a high fly ball to deep left field, but Lewis made an over-the-shoulder catch to end the inning.

Zach Patterson got on for Cabot in the bottom of the seventh with a hard-hit single to right field, but Benton reliever Wesley Ramsey struck out the next batter he faced to end the game.

Benton outhit Cabot 10-5, but Cabot left 11 runners stranded in the seven innings played. Benton only left six runners stranded for the game.

Smiley got the win on the mound for Benton. He threw four and two-thirds innings, gave up just one earned run on four hits and finished with five strikeouts. He did, however, walk seven Cabot batters. Ramsey earned the save.

Five different Benton players had two hits Monday. James, Lewis, Holicer, Southerland and Ramsey each had two hits. Patterson was the only Cabot player with multiple hits. He was 2 for 3 with two singles, while teammates Kimbrell, Bulice and Knudsen had one hit apiece.

The Cabot Senior team (10-8) played at Jonesboro and Nettleton last night after deadlines, and won’t play again until next Thursday against Little Rock. Next Thursday’s game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. and will be played at the Cabot High School Field.