Tuesday, June 28, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot prevails at Jacksonville tournament

Leader sports editor

Cabot-Centennial Bank knocked off defending tournament champion Conway on Sunday to claim the first-place trophy in Jacksonville’s FDH Investments Senior American Legion Classic.

The Cougars scored two runs in the top of the first inning thanks to two hits and two Cabot errors, but the Centennial Bank squad scored five in the fifth inning to take a 6-2 lead that was also the final score.

Cabot needed a little help getting to the championship game after losing in pool play to Magnet Cove 9-8 on Friday. But Searcy, who Cabot beat 8-0, upset the Black Cats 9-6 on Saturday. That created a situation where all three teams in the pool finished 1-1, and Cabot got the tiebreaker by virtue of fewest runs allowed.

“I like how our guys bounced back,” said Cabot coach Casey Vaughan. “We had a bad inning. We lost it. That’s just baseball.

“We came out today a little flat, but we got a couple of big-time hits, got our guys jacked up and were able to finish it off.”

Logan Gilbertson started on the mound for Cabot. His first inning was his worst, but neither run was earned. After starting with a strikeout, Josh Walker singled to left field. Gilbertson got Christian Hamilton to hit into what should’ve been an easy, inning-ending double play, but the throw from third to second sailed into right field, leaving runners safe at first and third.

Cleanup hitter David Beck then bounced a double off the fence in right field to score Walker and leave runners in scoring position. Gilbertson then struck out Eli Davis on a breaking ball in the dirt, but the throw to first was wide, leaving Davis safe at first, Beck safe at third and scoring Hamilton.

A wild pitch turned into a break for Cabot. Beck tried to score when the ball got past Logan Edmondson, but it careened off the bottom brace of the fence and back towards home plate. Edmondson scooped it up in plenty of time to toss to Gilbertson for the second out of the inning.

Brian Dumas then grounded out to end the bad opening frame for the Centennial squad.

Cabot (6-9) got one back in the bottom of the first when Easton Seidl singled to left field to score Edmondson, who had singled earlier in the inning.

The score stayed 2-1 until Cabot’s big fifth inning, and Seidl got that one started as well with a leadoff single to right. Gavin Tillery grounded to second base for what should’ve been a double play, but the ball was missed by Walker. Koleton Eastham singled to shallow center field to load the bases for Gino Germer, who had taken over on the mound for Gilbertson in the top half of the fifth.

The left-hander pulled a line drive to the fence down the right-field line for a three-RBI, stand-up double that gave Cabot a 4-2 lead.

Jack Broyles walked with one out, and Brian Tillery reached on an error at shortstop to load the bases again. Edmondson then hit a two-RBI single that scored Germer and Broyles and set the final margin.

Gilbertson threw four complete innings. He gave up only three hits and no earned runs, but had to settle for the no decision.

Germer got the win in three innings of relief. He gave up one hit and no runs. He was also good at the plate the entire tournament. He finished the three games at Dupree Park going 5 for 9 with a double and five RBIs and four runs scored.

“He’s one of the unsung heroes for us,” Vaughan said of Germer. “He’s one of those guys who keeps his mouth shut, plays baseball the way it’s supposed to be played and he’s having a lot of success.

“I really feel like the whole team is playing at a high level right now because we’re playing as a team. We weren’t doing that early and it’s been fun watching the transition and seeing the success they’re starting to have.”

Cabot hosts Morrilton at 6 p.m. tonight at the Cabot Sportsplex. The Centennial Bank Junior team will host a doubleheader with Beebe at the same place and time on Thursday.