Friday, June 24, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot run rules Searcy

Leader sports editor

The Centennial Bank Senior American Legion team has been a team of streaks this season, and it’s currently on a winning streak. The Cabot squad won its second-straight game on Thursday, hammering Searcy 8-0 in the opening round of the FDH Investments American Legion Classic at Jacksonville’s Dupree Park.

Before this week, Cabot was mired in a six-game losing streak, but beat Jacksonville at home on Monday before the big win on Thursday.

Cabot coach Casey Vaughan says the turnaround has been mostly about attitude.

“Our work ethic changed is the main thing,” Vaughan said. “We weren’t playing or acting like a team. We had some attitude problems. So we did some things off the field. We took them swimming and spent the day together like that. We started coming together, attitudes changed and we started working.”

Playing games three days apart allowed Cabot to put 6-foot-4 southpaw Gavin Tillery on the mound for the second time this week, which also helps.

“He’s our ace for sure,” Vaughan said. “We feel like we have a chance against anybody with him out there. But we’re hitting the ball a lot better than we were, too. Offense is coming around as well and that’s been a big part of it.”

Cabot’s first two batters reached base in the top of the first inning. Brian Tillery walked and Gino Germer singled to drive him home. Dillon Thomas then grounded to second base where the ball was mishandled, allowing Germer to give Cabot a quick 2-0 lead.

Logan Edmondson led off the second inning with a double to the wall in center field. He was still standing on second with two outs when Brian Tillery walked and Germer came through with his second RBI base hit to left field. Brian Tillery also scored on the play when the Searcy left fielder let the hop get past him and roll almost to the wall.

Searcy got two hits in the bottom of the second and one in the third, but was unable to produce any runs.

Searcy pitcher Mickey Ivey sat Centennial Bank down in order in the third and fourth innings, but the bats came alive in the fifth for Cabot. The four-run rally started with Brian Tillery taking a pitch to the hip. His stat line for the night was 0 for 0, a 1.000 on-base percentage and three runs scored.

Germer followed with his third single that put runners at first and second. Thomas hit an infield single that was fielded deep in the gap between shortstop and third base. With the bases loaded, Easton Seidl drew an RBI walk that made the score 5-0. Gavin Tillery then singled to right to score Germer. With one out, Edmondson singled to right field to drive in Thomas. Caleb Wilson also singled to right field to score Seidl to set the final margin.

Searcy got out of the jam when Nick Belden hit into a 4-3 double play.

Searcy needed one run to keep the game from ending on the eight-run-after-five-innings sportsmanship rule. It had an opportunity when Garrett St. Clair reached base on an error at second.

But Gavin Tillery coaxed him into leaving for second base too soon, and he became a 1-3-4 second out. Leadoff hitter Aaron Decker then hit a fly ball to right field to end the game after just an hour and seven minutes.

Cabot (4-6) got eight base hits and Germer led the way, going 3 for 3 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Edmondson went 2 for 3 with a double and scored one run.

Gavin Tillery threw all five innings, giving up four hits while striking out four. For the second-straight outing, he walked zero.