Friday, April 07, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Panthers get a win at Bryant

Leader sports editor

The Cabot baseball team continued to live on the edge, and continued to win when it beat Bryant 3-2 on Tuesday in Saline County in a big matchup between the 7A-Central’s two undefeated teams. It was the Panthers’ third-straight win by one run, though Tuesday’s victory did not need an extra inning, like previous wins over Conway and Little Rock Central.

Cabot (13-5, 5-0) has played most of the season without three projected starters, but the two that have returned in the last couple of weeks figured heavily in the game-winning run.

Cabot broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the sixth inning when Evan Hooper, playing in just his second game this season, hit a two-out triple that scored Bobby Joe Duncan for what turned out to be the game winner. Duncan, who only returned a week earlier, also got on base with a two-out single.

Starting pitcher Logan Gilbertson then gave up just one base hit over the next two innings to preserve the victory. It was Gilbertson’ second-straight phenomenal performance. He threw a two-hit shutout against Conway in a 1-0, eight-inning performance last outing. On Tuesday, he gave up two hits and both Bryant runs were unearned.

Cabot led 2-0 after scoring one run each in the third and fourth innings.

In the third inning, Kyler Franks hit a one-out single, and stole second with two outs. Clayton Gray then came through with a two-out single to right field to give Cabot the lead.

In the fourth inning, Dillon Thomas hit a leadoff single to center field, but was thrown out on a 4-6 fielder’s choice by Houston King. He moved to second on a passed ball, and then scored on a base hit by Duncan for a 2-0 Cabot lead.

Bryant (12-5, 4-1) tied it in the bottom of the fourth. After Gilbertson struck out Jake Wright to start the inning, Seth Tucker reached on an error at second base. Cameron Coleman then hit a triple to the wall in center field to drive in the base runner. Logan Chambers then flew out to center field deep enough to score Coleman and tie the game.

Duncan went 2 for 3 with an RBI and a run scored, and was the only player with multiple hits.

Gilbertson had five strikeouts and zero walks.

On Thursday, Cabot traveled to Searcy and came home with an 11-6 victory in a rubber match. The Lions (12-5) beat Cabot 7-4 in the season opener, then lost to the Panthers 7-0 less than a week later.

Gray went 3 for 5 and Denver Mullins 2 for 3 to lead Cabot offensively. Eight other Panthers got one base hit for a total of 13.

Zach Morris threw the first four innings, giving up five hits and two runs for the win. Dylan Billingsley and Michael Shepherd pitched one inning each, giving up three hits and two earned runs apiece. Brodey Schluter also pitched one inning, giving up no hits or walks and striking out one batter.

The Panthers will host Fort Smith Northside (5-14, 1-4) on Tuesday.