Wednesday, March 15, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot softball splits at Benton

Leader sports editor

The Cabot softball team got a win Friday to start the 16-team Benton High School tournament, beating White Hall 1-0. But offensive struggles continued on Saturday as the Lady Panthers lost for the first time this year, 4-1 to Greenbrier. 

Cabot had opportunities to score more runs in the win over White Hall, putting nine players on base. The Lady Panthers had six base hits to go along with two Bulldog errors and one walk. 

Cabot pitcher Lauren McCluskey pitched a gem. She gave up just three base hits while striking out five and walking zero over five innings of work in the timed games.

Greenbrier had the first real threat to score, getting two Cabot errors and a single in the top of the second inning. But with runners in scoring position and two outs, McCluskey got an easy pop up back to the mound to get out of the jam.

Cabot then got two base hits with one out in the bottom of the second, but courtesy runner K. Howard was picked off for the second out, and Rylie Hamilton grounded out to the mound to end the inning.

Both teams went down in order in the third. Greenbrier got one hit in the top of the fourth but never seriously threatened the score. Cabot then had a chance for a big inning in the bottom half, but couldn’t find the gaps with runners on base.

Cabot (5-1) did manage to push the lone, winning run across the plate.

Grace Neal drew a leadoff walk before Hannah Montgomery and Riley Walthall hit back-to-back singles to load the bases with no outs.

McCluskey then flew out to center field deep enough for Neal to tag from the third for the game-winning run.

Aubrey Lee and Hamilton followed that with well-hit balls, but both went right to outfielders for harmless outs to end the inning.

Cabot got one base hit from six different batters, with McCluskey recording the RBI.
On Saturday, Cabot got two hits total off Greenbrier ace Jaylee Engelkes.

One was a two-out, solo home run by Walthall in the last inning that gave Cabot its only run of the game.

Greenbrier (4-2) got eight base hits and two walks off McCluskey in five innings, and all four runs were earned. All eight hits and all four runs and one of the walks came in a two-inning stretch in the second and third innings.

Engelkes threw six innings. She struck out four and walked one to go with the two base hits allowed. McCluskey had Cabot’s other base hit.

Cabot hosted Mount St. Mary on Tuesday in the first 7A-Central Conference game of the year.

It will travel to Fort Smith Southside on Thursday to continue league play. Look for details of both of those games in Saturday’s edition of The Leader.