Tuesday, April 11, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Panthers cruise against Grizzlies

Leader sports editor

Brett Brockinton threw a complete-game shutout while Clayton Gray and Dillon Thomas combined for seven RBIs as the Cabot Panthers dominated a 7A-Central game 10-0 against Fort Smith Northisde on Friday in Cabot.

The Panthers held a 5-0 lead when they posted five more in the bottom of the fifth inning to put an early end to the contest through the 10-runs-after-five-inn-ings sportsmanship rule.

Cabot got on the board early with two runs in the bottom of the second inning, both with two outs. Gray was standing on second base after a one-out double when Thomas came to bat with two outs. He singled to right field to drive in the first run, and advanced to second base on the throw to the plate trying to get Gray. Houston King then singled to score Thomas for the 2-0 lead.

Northside (5-16, 1-5) came close to scoring in the top of the second, but an outstanding play by center fielder Evan Hooper ended the inning.

Bobby Rauch reached with one out on a dropped strike three. Will Zuerker then singled. With two outs, Nate Hampton singled to center, where Hooper fielded the ball and threw out Rauch at home plate.

Cabot (14-5, 6-0) loaded the bases on two errors and a walk in the bottom of the second, but Thomas lined out with a hard shot to center field; his only at-bat that didn’t result in a run scored.

Bad defense and good small ball led to three more runs for Cabot in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Caleb Harpole led off by reaching on an error in center field, and Kyler Franks bunted him into scoring position. Blake McCutchen singled to center to put runners on the corners. Gray then doubled to left field to drive in both base runners.

Denver Mullins then reached and Gray moved to third on an error at shortstop. Thomas then sacrificed to score Gray for a 5-0 lead.

In the decisive fifth inning, Bobby Joe Duncan drew a walk to lead off. The next two batters went down, with Duncan moving to second on a one-out groundout by Harpole. Eric Larsen then singled to score Duncan to make it 6-0, and was replaced on the base paths by Kyler Franks.

McCutchen got his second base hit to set Gray up for his third RBI of the game when he singled to right field and scored Franks. Mullins singled to drive in McCutchen, and Thomas hit a walk-off, two-run double to put an end to the game.

Gray went 3 for 4 with three runs scored and three RBIs. Thomas went 2 for 3 with one run and four RBIs. McCutchen went 2 for 4 and scored two runs.

Brockinton gave up four base hits while striking out three and walking zero.

The Panthers were scheduled to play at North Little Rock on Tuesday after Leader deadlines. They are scheduled to play at Catholic at 5 p.m. tonight. Look for information on those games in Saturday’s Leader.