Tuesday, June 09, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Centennial Bank Juniors win the Jacksonville Invitational

Leader sportswriter

The Cabot junior American Legion team rolled through the Jacksonville Invitational Tournament at Dupree Park over the weekend. The Centennial Bank squad hammered Sheridan 12-3 in the championship game on Sunday after falling behind 2-0. The closest game the team played in the four games at Dupree was against the host team, Gwatney-Red. Cabot won that game 7-0 after beating Benton 16-4 and Hot Springs Lakeside 18-2.

In Sunday’s game, four Cabot players totaled two hits, with Brian Tillery going 2 for 2 after entering the game in the sixth inning.Blake McCutchen went 2 for 3 with two walks, two RBIs and scored three runs.

Cabot made it three-straight against Sheridan on Monday, hosting a junior-senior doubleheader against the Yellowjackets at Brian Wade Conrade Memorial Field. Cabot again beat the Sheridan junior team 17-6 in five innings, but lost 4-1 to the senior team in the nightcap.

The Centennial Bank team played the Sheridan junior team in the first game of the twin bill, and trailed 3-2 after the first inning. Sheridan cleanup hitter Drew Austin gave the visitors a 3-0 lead in the top of the first with a three-run home run.

Cabot’s two runs scored in the bottom of the first were unearned. Bobby Joe Duncan and Blake McCutchen walked to start the game, and after a pair of strikeouts by Cabot’s three and four hitters, starting pitcher Taylor Higgins reached on an error at shortstop that allowed Duncan and McCutchen to score.

It was all Cabot from there. After holding Sheridan scoreless in the top of the second, Centennial Bank racked up 10 runs in the bottom half of the inning to take a commanding 12-3 lead.

Cabot scored its final five runs in the inning with two outs. Will Jerry drove in runs seven and eight with a two-out triple to deep left center, and he scored Cabot’s ninth run the next at-bat on a single up the middle by Skylar Weidman.

Weidman scored the following at-bat on a double to left center by Nicholas Belden. Belden was then driven in by Easton Seidl, who hit a ground-rule double, and Seidl scored on a single to center field by Duncan, which gave Cabot its 12-3 lead.

Sheridan scored its next two runs in the top of the third, but Cabot answered with three more in the bottom half of the inning to lead 15-5. Centennial Bank’s first run in the third was scored on a one-out single to center field off the bat of Jerry.

Dillon Thomas scored on the play after singling to left field earlier in the inning. The next two runs were scored on a two-RBI single to left field by Brian Tillery. He drove in Jerry and Weidman on the play. Jerry crossed the plate before Weidman, who walked earlier in the inning.

Cabot scored its final two runs in the fourth before giving up a run in the top of the fifth that set the final margin. Ty Cyr drove in the 16th run for Cabot on a sac fly to center field. McCutchen scored on the play after hitting a stand-up triple to lead off the bottom of the fourth.

Centennial Bank loaded the bases later in the inning, and with two outs, Tillery was hit by a pitch, which gave him an easy RBI as Thomas, who reached base via walk, scored Cabot’s final run of the game. The game ended after the fifth inning because of the sportsmanship rule.

The hosts racked up 14 hits in game one. McCutchen led the offense, going 3 for 3 with two runs scored. Duncan, Jerry, Belden and Seidl each had two hits in the first game, while Weidman, Thomas and Tillery had one apiece.

McCutchen got the official win on the mound. He took over pitching duties in the second inning, and struck out four Yellowjackets in two innings of work.

The second game proved to be a much tougher challenge, as the Cabot junior team could only muster three hits against Sheridan’s senior team, which comprises mostly of players that played for Sheridan’s Class 6A state championship team this spring.

Cabot starting pitcher Logan Gilbertson held the Sheridan seniors scoreless through the first four innings of play, but the Yellowjackets scored two runs in the fifth and sixth innings to take the lead and eventually get the win.

Centennial Bank scored its lone run in the fourth inning. That run was scored by Weidman on a two-out triple to deep right center off the bat of Brett Brockinton. Brockinton, Gilbertson and Belden had Cabot’s three hits.

“The first game, we did what we were supposed to do,” said Cabot coach David Smith. “That’s going to be a good bunch. That second group coming in here, that’s a very good club from Sheridan – senior bunch that just won a state championship.

“We saw what we were made of as far as putting ourselves on that level, and for the most part I thought they did a good job competing with them and hanging with them.”

With Monday’s doubleheader split, the Centennial Bank junior team’s overall record is now 10-2.