Friday, July 01, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot, Beebe each earn one victory

Leader sportswriter

Cabot and Beebe split their Junior American Legion doubleheader Thursday night at the Cabot Sportsplex, with the Centennial Bank team winning the first game 2-1, and the Post 91-O’Reilly Auto Parts team taking game two by the final score of 5-2.

In game one, Cabot scored the only run it would need in the bottom of the first inning. Leadoff hitter Brian Tillery led off the inning with a double, and scored two batters later on a sac fly to center field by Michael Crumbly, giving Centennial Bank its 1-0 lead.

Cabot’s next and final run of game one came in the second inning. Starting pitcher Coy Lovercheck got things started with a two-out single, and Tillery was hit by a pitch to put two on for Centennial Bank. First baseman Caleb Wilson then came through with an RBI single that scored Lovercheck and put the hosts up 2-0.

Lovercheck held Beebe scoreless until the seventh inning. He struck out the first batter he faced in the top of the seventh, but leadoff hitter JT Nicholson hit a one-out triple to right field the following at-bat.

Blaine Burge then singled to left center to cut the deficit to 2-1. Lovercheck was relieved by Wilson after that, and the game ended with a fly-out to right field and a pop-up to second base.

Game two was scoreless after two innings of play, but Beebe struck first in the top of the third with three runs. Skylar Weidman walked to give Beebe its first base runner of the inning, and he advanced all the way to third on an errant pickoff play at first base.

Nicholson then hit another triple to score Weidman, and Nicholson scored the next at-bat on a Burge hit to first base that turned into an error. Alec Matlock followed that play with a single to left field.

Cabot got two consecutive outs after Matlock’s hit, but the next two Beebe batters walked to first load the bases and then score Burge for a 3-0 Beebe lead. Bryce Nance earned the RBI on the bases-loaded walk that scored Burge.

Centennial Bank answered with both of its runs in the bottom half of the inning. Gage Morrow led off the bottom of the third with a single to left field, and Jack Broyles reached on an E5 the next at-bat. Another throwing error on the same play, which resulted in the ball being hurled deep into the outfield, allowed Morrow and Broyles to score and make it a 3-2 ballgame.

Beebe, though, answered with two more runs in the top of the fourth. Weidman led off the inning with a triple to the fence in left field, and he scored on a Nicholson single to right the following at-bat.

Nicholson stole second base and advanced to third on a passed ball before scoring on a one-out single to center field by Matlock, setting the final score. Beebe relief pitcher Callie Neal struck out three of the four batters he faced in the bottom of the fourth, and after the third strikeout of the inning, the game was called because the one hour, 30-minute time limit expired.

“Man, the first game I just feel like we didn’t come out as focused as we should have,” said Beebe coach Tyler Burge, “but later on in the game we battled back and started scraping some things up. At the end of the day it was just too late. We just battled back a little too late.”

Tyler Burge did like what he saw from his three pitchers in game two.

“They threw really well,” Tyler Burge said. “We had a couple of miscues out there (in the field), but I feel like we did really well. The last guy (Neal), that’s maybe his third game to pitch and he threw really well.”

Like Tyler Burge, Cabot head coach David Smith saw things he liked from his group and things he didn’t, but Smith was pleased overall with the day his team had.

“Overall, I feel pretty good about it,” said Smith, “especially game one. With Coy Lovercheck coming in, he did a great job on the mound and then Caleb Wilson coming in and shutting it down. The one thing that we really need to keep working on and improving on is our approach at the plate.

“We struggle a little bit with that, and it showed in the first game, from innings three on. Their guy (Blaine Burge) settled in and did a great job of shutting us down a little bit there. But overall I was pleased.”

Lovercheck got the win on the mound in game one, throwing the first 6 1/3 innings and finishing with seven strikeouts. Wilson and Gino Germer led Cabot at the plate in game one with two hits apiece. Nicholson led Beebe in the first game with two hits – both triples.

Hayden Crafton started on the mound for Beebe in game two. He earned the win after throwing the first two innings. He struck out four, gave up one hit and no earned runs. Matlock and Neal pitched the next two innings to close that game.

Nicholson had two hits in game two as well, one of which was his third triple of the day. Matlock also had two hits in game two to lead Beebe. Cabot totaled just two hits in game two. Morrow singled and Austin Calhoun had a triple.