Wednesday, April 06, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot gets easy sweep of Patriots

Leader sportswriter

The Cabot baseball team got a 7A/6A-East sweep at Marion on Friday. In the first game of the conference doubleheader, Cabot, led by ace pitcher Chase Kyzer, held the Patriots scoreless en route to a 5-0 win, and in game two, the Panthers’ bats lit up the hosts on their way to a dominant 24-4 win.

The first two innings of game one were scoreless. Cabot (10-5, 3-1)

scored three of its five runs in the top of the third. Brett Brockinton led off that inning with a double to right field and Logan Gilbertson advanced him to second base with a sacrifice bunt.

Bobby Joe Duncan drove in the game’s first run with a two-out single to center field, and Duncan scored the next at-bat on a triple to right field by catcher Denver Mullins. Eric Larsen drove in the third run the next at-bat with a single, giving the Panthers a 3-0 cushion.

The game remained 3-0 until the top of the seventh, when Cabot added its final two runs – again, with two outs. Gilbertson went to first after being hit by a pitch. He stole second base with Blake McCutchen at the plate, and McCutchen drove him in with a single to left field.

Duncan walked the following at-bat, and Mullins reached on an error at second base. McCutchen scored on the play, giving Cabot its 5-0 lead. Michael Shepherd came in to relieve Kyzer in the seventh, and he retired the side, striking out the first and third Marion batters looking to earn the save and give the Panthers the game-one win.

“Kyzer threw the first six innings and then Michael Shepherd came in and just did a fantastic job against the heart of their order to close that game out in the seventh,” said Cabot coach Ronnie Goodwin.

Kyzer didn’t necessarily have his best game on the mound Friday, but found a way to get it done and the defense played well behind him, giving up just one error in the seven innings played.

“This week he didn’t have his best stuff,” Goodwin said of Kyzer. “He was really, really fighting some things, but at the same time, pitched kind of like a high school pitcher should pitch – win without your best stuff.

“For us to grind out six innings when he was kind of fighting some things a little bit, which is going to happen as a pitcher; that was huge for us. And then Shepherd coming in, boom, boom, boom – throwing strikes – that was big for us.”

Cabot’s bat’s boomed throughout game two. The Panthers racked up 19 hits in the second game and scored at least four runs every inning.

Cabot scored four runs in the first inning to lead 4-0. Marion scored two of its runs in the top of the second before the Panthers added six more to their side of the board in the bottom half of the inning to lead 10-2.

The Patriots went scoreless over the next two innings, and Cabot scored 14 in that two-inning stretch – eight in the third and six in the fourth. Marion’s final two runs came in the top of the fifth, and once the top of the fifth ended, so did the game because of the sportsmanship rule.

“I don’t like seeing that score,” Goodwin said, “because I don’t want people to think we were trying to run the score up. That’s just not what we do. We’re not about that. So we did clear the bench in that game.

“It was one of those games where pitchers just had a hard time finding the strike zone, really on both sides. We walked six and they (Marion) walked 10 – a little smaller strike zone than we were used to seeing.”

Gilbertson started and earned the win on the mound for Cabot in game two, and the head Panther liked what he saw from the junior hurler, who threw the first four innings of that game.

“Really our pitcher (Gilbertson) was throwing fantastic,” Goodwin said. “He really, really pitched well. He pitched better than his (stat) line shows. He threw four innings for us and really competed on a tough night to pitch, if you will.”

Duncan led Cabot at the plate in game two, going 4 for 4 with three runs scored. McCutchen and Larsen each had three hits in that game. Mullins was 2 for 2. Jake Slunder also had two hits and Rail Gillam, Davis Wofford, Braden Jarnigan, Brockinton and Logan Kirkendoll had one hit each.

In game one, McCutchen, Duncan, Mullins, Larsen, Slunder and Brockinton accounted for Cabot’s six hits. On the mound, Kyzer struck out four batters and gave up just three hits and two walks in his six innings of work. In the second game, Gilbertson struck out seven batters and gave up just two hits and four walks in four innings.