Friday, March 17, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Panther girls pound MSMA

Leader sports editor

The Cabot Lady Panthers jumped all over Mount St. Mary in the 7A-Central opener on Tuesday, hammering the Belles 12-1 at home before going on the road on Thursday and pummeling Fort Smith Southside 18-1.

In Tuesday’s win, Cabot (7-1, 2-0) blew the game open with a nine-run second inning to take a 10-0 lead.

The game’s opening run was in the bottom of the first when Aubrey Lee hit an RBI single that scored Grace Neal.

The big rally in the bottom of the second started with a lot of help from the Belles. Pitches hit Rylie Hamilton and Anna Beth Duncan, and Hamilton scored when Leah Gerald reached on an error at first base.

Riley Walthall then singled to load the bases, and Bethany Knowles drove one run in with a shot to left field. Neal then hit a line drive to left that ate up the fielder, and all three base runners scored on the error for a 6-0 Cabot lead.

Hannah Montgomery then hit an infield single, but Neal held at third base to leave runners on the corners and still no outs. But she was then picked off, and it proved a costly base-running error. Lee singled and McCluskey walked to load the bases again with one out. After Kenzie Howard took pitcher McCluskey’s spot on first base, Hamilton walked to drive in Montgomery.

Duncan then doubled to score two more runs, and Gerald got the final RBI of the inning with an infield single to shortstop.

MSM (2-3, 0-1) got its one run in the top of the third with a brief two-out rally. Back-to-back singles were followed by an error at shortstop to make the score 10-1.

In the bottom of the same inning, Lee hit a one-out single before McCluskey flew out to center. With two outs, Lee moved to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a single by Hamilton to make it 11-1.

Duncan then walked and Gerald got her second RBI hit with a single to center field that scored Hamilton to set the final margin.

Cabot totaled 13 base hits with Lee leading the way. She went 3 for 3 with an RBI and two runs scored.

Gerald went 2 for 2 with three RBIs and scored a run. Neal went 2 for 3 with two RBIs while Hamilton and Duncan also drove in a pair of runs each.

McCluskey pitched five innings, giving up just three hits and zero earned runs while striking out six and issuing just one walk.

On Thursday, the Lady Panthers scored in every inning against the Lady Mavericks (0-8, 0-2), putting the game away with eight runs in the top the of the sixth.