Tuesday, June 21, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Gwatney ties at Centennial

Leader sports editor

The Cabot-Centennial Bank Junior American Legion team avoided defeat for the second time this season, though it didn’t get its second win. Adhering to a strict time limit, the umpires called its home game with Jacksonville-Gwatney Chevrolet off after the sixth inning with the score tied at 5-5.

Despite the disappointing and surprise ending, Cabot coach David Smith was pleased with his very inexperienced team’s performance. It was the first game this season that his squad committed no errors.

“I think the improvement is showing,” said Smith. “We knew from day one we were going to have to do a lot of teaching, but they’re catching on. We’ve had a few games here and there when we’ve played pretty good, but we haven’t put any together so far. Hopefully we build on this game this week. No errors is big for this team. Jacksonville put the ball in play a lot.”

Cabot pitcher Austin Calhoon worked his way out of several jams during the game. Jacksonville’s first four batters in the top of the first inning reached base. Four-hole hitter Peyton Williams hit a two-RBI single to center field that left runners on first and second. Calhoon then got Quentin Stallard to hit into a 6-4-3 double play, and Joe Cummings grounded out to shortstop to end the threat.

Gwatney Chevrolet held that lead until the third inning, and failed to add to it in the top of the third when it loaded the bases with no outs.

With the bases loaded, Calhoon got Williams and Stallard to pop up in the infield, and struck out Cummings to escape the threat.

Gwatney starting pitcher Foster Rash threw two innings of no-hit ball, and had two strikeouts and one walk in the third inning when Centennial Bank rallied for all five of its runs.

Jack Broyles doubled to center field to put two runners in scoring position. Caleb Wilson walked to load the bases and Gino Germer doubled to center field to drive in Cabot’s first two runs.

Michael Crumbly got a base hit to center field, where Caden Sample misplayed the hop, allowing the ball to roll to the fence. Germer also scored on the play and Crumbly made it all the way to third base. Gage Morrow then reached on an error at third base that also allowed Crumbly to score Cabot’s fifth and final run of the inning.

Jacksonville tied the game in the top of the fifth inning. Robert Johnson was hit by Calhoon and Isaiah Cain walked to put two runners on with one out. Leadoff hitter Jonathan Smith struck out, but Jayden Loving hit a two-RBI double down the right-field line, and Sample followed with a triple to almost the same spot that tied the game.

Williams hit a fly ball to center field off reliever Jacob Caswell to end the inning.

Cabot then failed to capitalize on prime scoring opportunities in the final two innings. It loaded the bases with one out when Wilson flew out to center field. Randy Couch tried to score after tagging up. Stallard faked cutting off Sample’s throw, and let it roll under his glove. Loving stopped it right in front of the plate in time to tag Couch for the 8-2 double play.

Centennial Bank loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the sixth inning. After Cain struck out the next batter, Couch hit a hard grounder to first base. Stallard made the stop and threw home to get the force out. Loving then relayed back to first where second baseman Caleb Anderson was covering for the rare 3-2-4 double play.

Jacksonville’s Junior team (9-7-1) played at Heber Springs last night after Leader deadlines, and is off the rest of the week as the Senior team hosts its annual mid-season tournament. Cabot (1-10-1) hosted CAC last night and next plays at home against Maumelle next Tuesday.