Tuesday, March 21, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Panthers play well, top Mavs

Leader sports editor

The Cabot baseball team won its second 7A-Central game in as many tries on Friday when it traveled to Fort Smith to defeat Southside 8-1. The Panthers led 7-0 before Southside finally scored in the sixth inning. Cabot added a run in the top of the seventh to set the final margin, and Michael Shepherd threw one shut out inning in the seventh to get the save.

Brett Brockinton pitched a solid six innings for the win, giving up just five base hits and no earned runs while striking out nine and walking no one.

Cabot went down in order in the first inning, but after a groundout to start the top of the second, the bats came alive at the bottom of the order. Five-hole hitter Houston King took a strike before becoming Cabot’s first base runner with a single to left. Brockinton then singled to put two runners on base.

Caleb Harpole hit a hard grounder to shortstop that was mishandled by Brock Thibodeaux, allowing King to score and leaving Brockinton safe at third. Brockinton scored during the next at-bat when a ball got by the Southside catcher.

Brockinton gave up a single in the bottom of the second, but came back to strike out the side.

Denver Mullins then got a two-out rally started with a line-drive single to left field. Ty Cyr took the Panther catcher’s place on the base paths, and Dillon Thomas singled to put runners on first and second.

King then doubled to score Cyr from second, and Brockinton walked to load the bases for Harpole. He came through with an RBI single to left, but Southside stopped the bleeding with a bases-loaded strikeout of Conner Linton to end the inning.

After another 1-2-3 inning by Brockinton, Cabot got four-straight base hits to start the top of the fourth inning. Kyler Franks got things rolling with a leadoff double to the wall in center field. McCutchen then sent a 2-1 pitch to center field to score Franks and give Cabot a 5-0 lead. Gray and Mullins followed that with back-to-back singles to load the bases.

Southside (3-6, 0-2) got McCutchen out at home on Thomas’ grounder to third, but King came through again with another RBI base hit to center field. With one out, Brockinton record another RBI with a fly-out to right field that allowed Cyr to score from third base.

Southside got two runners on with one out on a pair of singles. Kinner Basher hit into a 6-4 fielder’s choice. With runners at first and third, Brockinton fanned Mason Love to get out of the jam.

Cabot (7-3, 2-0) only got a pair of walks over the next two innings and Southside finally got an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth.

Brockinton struck out Thibodeaux to start the inning, but Mullins dropped the third strike and Thibodeaux reached base safely. He advanced to third on a single by Mac Moody and scored on a sac fly by Jake Melton.

In the top of the seventh, Cabot set the final margin when Brodey Schluter drew a one-out walk, and scored with two outs on a double by McCutchen.

Cabot is taking part in the Best of the West Tournament in Memphis this week. Look for details of that tournament in Saturday’s edition of The Leader.