Wednesday, July 02, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Centennial Bank’s Jr. White tops Sylvan Hills

Leader sportswriter

After a rough start to the summer season, the Cabot White Junior American Legion team has been on a bit of a hot streak as of late and continued that streak Monday, as the Centennial Bank boys hammered visiting Sylvan Hills en route to a 13-1 mercy-rule win at the Cabot City Park.

The Cabot White team lost 10 of its first 11 games to begin the season, but with Monday’s dominant win over the Bruins, the Centennial Bank squad has now won six of its past eight games to improve its overall record to 8-18.

“We kind of went through a rough patch there at the beginning of the season, but we’re on a streak,” said Cabot White coach Joe Bryant. “So we’re getting hot at the right time. We’ve got Zone coming up on Saturday, and I think we can get hot in that tournament.

“We’re playing good ball right now. Our pitching is coming around. Our sticks are looking a lot better. It was a rough time at the beginning of the season, but it’s paying off right now.

“We lost several close games at the beginning of the season, and we lost some blowouts, but we’re learning from it. Obviously, winning six of the last eight, it’s helped.”

Over the first three innings Monday, Cabot scored the game’s first eight runs to lead 8-0 after three. Sylvan Hills scored its lone run of the game in the top of the fourth to cut its deficit to seven, but Centennial Bank added its final five runs in the bottom part of the inning to set the final score.

Brandon Jones reached base on a fielder’s choice for Cabot in the bottom of the first. He then advanced to third base after cleanup hitter Logan Edmondson reached safely on an error at third base.

Dalton Hurst then came to the plate and also reached on a Sylvan Hills error, this one at first base, which allowed Jones to score and gave Cabot a 1-0 lead. With runners at the corners, Hurst stole second base and Edmondson scored on the throw to second, which put the host team up 2-0.

Cabot scored its final run of the inning on a stand-up double to right field the following at-bat, which allowed Hurst to score and put Cabot on top 3-0. All three runs scored in the inning came with two outs.

Like the first inning, all of Cabot’s runs in the second and third innings came with two outs.

Leadoff hitter Ethan Smith doubled to right center to start the two-out rally in the bottom of the second, and he scored the next at-bat on a ground-rule double to right center by Tyler Fowler.

Fowler advanced to third base on a wild pitch shortly after, and he scored on an infield single by Jones, which made it a 5-0 game. Cabot took an 8-0 lead with one swing of the bat in the bottom of the third.

With two outs, Cabot got two on thanks to a pair of errors by the Bruin middle infielders, and loaded the bases after Christian Gartman was plunked by a pitch. That brought Smith back to the top of the order, and he hit a bases-clearing triple to deep right field that gave Cabot its 8-0 cushion.

Sylvan Hills’ lone run of the game also came with two outs. Bruins’ cleanup hitter Ray Young got things going for Sylvan Hills with a single to the gap in right field.

Garrett Davis singled the next at-bat, and Jason Davis followed with an RBI single to left field, which cut the Bruins’ deficit to 8-1.

Cabot, though, answered with its five runs scored in the bottom part of the inning to set the final score. After Sylvan Hills’ scoreless at-bat in the top of the fifth, the game was called because of the 10-run lead after five innings sportsmanship rule.

Fowler, Cabot White’s ace pitcher, got the win on the hill. He threw all five innings, and gave up two walks and three hits while striking out seven Bruin batters.

Cabot outhit Sylvan Hills 10-3. Smith led the way offensively for Cabot, going 3 for 4 with three RBIs and a run scored. He was a home run shy of hitting for the cycle.

For Sylvan Hills, Young, Garrett Davis and Jason Davis each singled to round out the Bruins’ hit total.

Sylvan Hills and Cabot White will play in the Zone 5 Tournament that begins Saturday at Heber Springs.