Wednesday, July 16, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot Red still alive after win over Mt. Home

Leader sports editor

The Cabot Red-Centennial Bank Junior American Legion team stayed alive after three days of play in the Junior American Legion state tournament at Burns Park in North Little Rock. Cabot opened the tournament with a minor upset, handing Paragould’s 29-7 Glen Sain-Ford team a 4-2 loss. That put them into a winners’ bracket semifinal game against defending state champion Bryant, where the Blacksox prevailed 2-1.

Facing elimination on Monday, Cabot beat Mountain Home 7-4 to keep state championship hopes alive.

“Someone said after we lost like we did up there to Heber last week, that Heber woke us up,” said Cabot assistant David Smith, who took the reigns Monday in head coach Justin Moore’s absence. “We’ve played really good baseball since then. We got three more big wins up there, and we’ve two more here. We lost to Bryant, who’s really probably the best team in this tournament. Gavin Tillery pitched a great game against them, they got a couple of big hits late in the game that made the difference. We had two errors today, but overall we’ve played really solid baseball since that loss. You have to be pleased with that.”

In Monday’s win, Cabot scored two runs in the top of the first and four in the second to take a 6-0 lead. Mountain Home’s Hooper Environmental Services team, 18-10, chipped away slowly at the lead, pulling to within 6-4 after six innings. HES scored one in the third, one in the fourth and two in the sixth, but Cabot pitcher Mike Havard got out of each jam with timely strikeouts and good defense behind him.

In the seventh inning, Havard walked Brody Ninemire to start the inning. But Luke Kinder hit a hardgrounder to third base, where Braden Jarnagin made the play, threw to second base where Bobby Duncan relayed to first for the 5-4-3 double play. Havard then walked Ethan Roark, but got seven-hole hitter Ryan Czanstkowski looking at a vicious curve ball to end the game.

Cabot took the lead quickly in the top of the first when leadoff hitter Blake McCutchen singled to left field. Catcher Denver Mullins then singled with one out and both runners scored when cleanup hitter Easton Seidl singled to right field.

In the top of the second, Cabot’s first four batters reached base and all four scored. Tillery hit a leadoff single before Duncan was hit by a pitch.

Havard then singled, followed by another hit by McCutchen that made it 3-0. After two consecutive outs, Seidl’s grounder to third base was mishandled, allowing McCutchen to score and make it 6-0.

Cabot’s final run came in the last inning. Jarnagin hit a leadoff single to left field. With one out, Seidl hit a one-hop double off the base of the wall in left field to score Jarnagin and set the final margin.

McCutchen and Seidl each got two hits to lead the Centennial Bank squad, which finished with nine total base hits.

Havard went the distance for the win, scattering nine base hits while walking and striking out four.

Cabot, 19-11, was scheduled to play another elimination game at 5 p.m. Tuesday after The Leader deadlines. Look for details of that or any subsequent state tournament game in Saturday’s edition of The Leader.