Friday, June 09, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot clips Bryant

Leader sports editor

The Cabot senior American Legion baseball team split its two games this week. The Centennial Bank squad went on the road on Tuesday and lost 5-1 to Russellville, but came back home on Wednesday to defeat Bryant 3-2.

Against Bryant, pitcher Brett Brockinton stayed in command the entire game. He ran into some brief trouble in the sixth inning when the Black Sox scored both of their runs. Brockinton gave up a leadoff double to nine-hole hitter Jake East, and then walked the leadoff hitter Seth Tucker. After a strikeout of Dylan Hurt, a sacrifice fly by Logan Allen drove in one run. Another single by Brandon Hoover scored the second run and Brockinton got his eighth and final strikeout to end the inning.

He then got three-straight groundouts, one back to the mound and two to third baseman Michael Crumbly, to secure the victory.

“He was outstanding,” said Cabot coach Casey Vaughan. “When I went out to the mound in the sixth inning, he said he could get out of it. I asked again before going out in the seventh, he just exuded confidence. And obviously he knew he could handle it. It was a phenomenal performance.”

Brockinton gave up only four hits the entire game, and had just the one walk to go with his eight strikeouts.

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the fourth inning. That’s when Cabot’s Brian Tillery hit a leadoff single to left field. Dillon Thomas then hit a hard line drive right to the left fielder Matthew Sundidge.

The ball hit Sundidge’s glove, but he couldn’t hang on, leaving runners safe at second and third. Easton Seidl then hit a towering shot to centerfield that bounced off the ball. Tillery scored easily, but Thomas was tagged out at home after two perfect throws on the 8-6-2 out.

The Centennial Bank squad added to its lead in the fifth inning, but also had a run negated by a call mostly concocted out of the umpire by Bryant’s coach.

Crumbly and Jack Broyles got back-to-back singles to start the inning that left runners safe on the corners.

That ended Bryant starting pitcher Myers Buck’s night on the mound. Jake East took the mound to face the top of the Cabot lineup. Caleb Harpole hit a ball that bounced just in front of the plate and stopped. Hurt, Bryant’s catcher, rounded it up, but missed the tag as Crumbly ran by him and scored.

Tillery then hit a hard, one-hop comebacker to East. The ball skipped off the top of East’s glove and right to second baseman Scott Schmidt. He fielded it cleanly, but threw wild to first base, allowing Broyles to score for the 3-0 Cabot lead.

Harpole reached second on the play and stole third base. Thomas then hit a high fly ball to deep left field, plenty deep enough to score Harpole.

Bryant’s coach, however, who had been arguing everything and made multiple trips onto the field to contest calls, had his infielders appeal to third base, and the umpire called Harpole out, negating the RBI and making it a 7-5 double play.

Vaughan then made his case, but to no avail.

“That’s the approach some people are going to take, you just have to put it behind you and move on,” Vaughan said. “We did a good job of that. I talked to the umpire as well. I think he knows he missed it, and we just kept playing.”

At Russellville on Tuesday, Cabot was held to two total base hits, and committed four errors that resulted in all five of Russellville’s runs being unearned. After a game like that, Vaughan was very pleased with his team’s performance on Wednesday.

“They had a pretty good arm on the mound, but I definitely felt like we could have got to him more than we did,” Vaughan said. “And we made some errors and gave away all their runs. That’s why I’m so proud of them for coming back here tonight and beating one of the best teams in the state.”

Tillery and Broyles had Cabot’s only hits on Tuesday. Harpole walked twice and scored the only Cabot run on a sacrifice RBI fly by Seidl.

Michael Shepherd gave up five hits in four innings of work, including five strikeouts and three walks. Caleb Wilson threw one inning and gave up one hit and one walk.

The Centennial Bank senior team will play against at 7 p.m. tonight at Conway.