Friday, June 12, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot mounts big comeback

Leader sportswriter

The Cabot Centennial Bank senior American Legion team fell into an 8-0 hole at the start of its game against Jacksonville on Thursday at Brian Wade Conrade Memorial Field, but the hosts steadily chipped away at Jacksonville’s lead, and beat the Chevy Boys 12-11 in the bottom of the seventh on a walk-off, three-RBI triple by Brett Brockinton.

Centennial Bank trailed the Gwatney Chevrolet senior team 11-9 heading into the bottom of the seventh, but got its leadoff man on base when Dylan Bowers was hit by a pitch.

Lee Sullivan hit a line-drive single to right field the next at-bat to put runners at first and second for Cabot, and Logan Kirkendoll loaded the bases the following at-bat with a bloop single to right field that should’ve been caught, but wasn’t as no Jacksonville player called for the ball. That brought Brockinton, the team’s cleanup hitter, to the plate with no outs, and he hit his bases-clearing, walk-off triple to give Cabot its first lead of the night and the win.

“This team this year is clicking as a team better than any team I’ve seen,” said Cabot coach Chris Gross. “We might not have the overwhelming talent with an older bunch like last year. We had a bunch of older guys. This year, we’re a lot younger, and everybody’s attitudes are great. Everybody’s playing together great.

“They never got their heads down the entire game. Even after the first inning, they still went out there and kept hacking away. It was a great game.”

Gwatney (1-2) took advantage of multiple Cabot errors and miscues in the first inning. Courtland McDonald and Ryan Mallison both reached base on a couple of Cabot errors in the infield to start the game, and scored on back-to-back singles by Brandon Hickingbotham and D.J. Scott.

Hickingbotham, Scott, Deaundray Crudup, Chris Penn and Peyton Traywick scored the next five runs in the inning for Gwatney before McDonald scored his second run of the inning to make it 8-0 Jacksonville.

Cabot (3-3) scored a run in the bottom of the second before adding five more to its side of the board in the third to make the score 8-6. Jacksonville, though, responded with two more runs in the fourth.

Hickingbotham led off the fourth with a single, and two batters later, Laderrious Perry hit a two-run bomb over the fence in left field that gave Gwatney a 10-6 lead. Cabot answered with three more runs in the bottom half of the fourth inning to make it a one-run game.

After hitting a single to center field to get the offense going, Kirkendoll scored the first Cabot run in the fourth on an error at shortstop. That ground ball was off the bat of Gavin Tillery.

Before Tillery reached on the E6, Brockinton reached on an error at first base. Brockinton then scored on a one-out single by Collin Thames, which cut the Jacksonville lead to 10-8, and Tillery scored the next at-bat on an error at third base. That ground ball was hit by Hayden Vinson.

After a scoreless fifth inning, Jacksonville scored its final run in the top of the sixth. Crudup got on base after being hit by a pitch. He advanced to second base on a passed ball before advancing to third on a 6-3 groundout by Penn. Crudup scored shortly after on a passed ball, which made the score 11-9 Jacksonville.

Caleb Harpole earned the official win on the mound. He took over pitching duties with two outs in the top of the sixth. He pitched the rest of the game, recorded three strikeouts and gave up no hits or runs.

Cabot outhit Jacksonville 14-9. Kirkendoll and Brockinton led Centennial Bank with three hits apiece. Bowers and Sullivan each had two hits, while teammates Easton Seidl, Vinson, Michael Shepherd and Thames had one each.

Caleb McMunn and Hickingbotham led Jacksonville with two hits each, and teammates McDonald, Penn, Crudup, Perry and Scott had one apiece.