Wednesday, June 21, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot drops Wood Bat final

Special to The Leader

The Sheridan Yellowjacket Senior American Legion team is beginning to make a habit of knocking off local teams in the finals of its annual Wood Bat Classic. Sheridan defeated Cabot’s Centennial Bank squad 5-0 on Sunday to win the tournament for the second consecutive year. Last year, the host team knocked off Jacksonville in the final round.

Cabot managed five base hits and two walks, and Sheridan committed two errors, but the Centennial Bank squad couldn’t manage the timely hits in the shutout loss.

One and two hitters Blake McCutchen and Caleb Harpole combined for four of the five hits, two apiece. Only once did the hits come in the same inning, and with wood bats, extra base hits are difficult to accomplish.

Cleanup hitter Dillon Thomas had the other base hit while Brian Tillery and Jack Broyles drew the two walks.

Earlier on Sunday, Cabot scored two ninth-inning runs to beat Magnet Cove 4-2. Starting pitcher Brett Brockinton pitched a gem for seven innings, giving up just two base hits and one earned run with three walks and six strikeouts.

Koletan Eastham and Caleb Wilson finished it off, each pitching one inning of no-hit ball. Wilson got the win for pitching the bottom of the ninth after Cabot took the lead.

Cabot only had six hits, and they were from familiar names. McCutchen and Tillery had two hits apiece. McCutchen and Thomas each hit a double and Harpole had the other base hit for Centennial Bank.

Cabot defeated El Dorado 17-5 on Wednesday to start the tournament. It defeated Sheridan’s junior team 11-7 in their first game on Saturday. Sheridan was forced to enter its junior team into the senior tournament after Benton canceled late.

Centennial Bank then lost 4-1 to White Hall Relyance Bank in the 3:00 Saturday game, but the 28 runs scored in the first two victories won pool play for Cabot to advance to the semifinals on Sunday.

In the loss to White Hall, while playing on Oliver Williams Field, home of the 6A state champion Sheridan Yellowjackets, Cabot fell behind 2-0 quickly on a first inning two-run home run over the left field fence off the bat of Relyance Bank’s starting pitcher, Layne Hartsfield.

Centennial Bank cut the lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the second. Tillery singled to left center and moved to second on a bobble in the outfield. Brockinton and Rail Gilliam both drew base on balls to load the bases, and then Broyles also walked to force in a run.

No runs scored in the third or fourth innings, but Hartsfield hit his second two-run home run of the game, this time to center, in the top of the fifth to increase the lead to 4-1.

Cabot’s starting pitcher, McCutchen, tripled to right in the bottom of the frame, but did not score. McCutchen pitched the first five innings and struck out seven, while allowing seven hits and no walks. Tillery pitched the sixth and seventh, had two strikeouts, allowed two hits and two walks, but no runs.

Relyance Bank had runners on in the top of the seventh, but Tillery and catcher Gilliam got a runner out at the plate on a squeeze play, and Tillery got a strikeout to end the inning with no runs scoring.

Brockinton also tripled to right field in the bottom of the frame for Centennial Bank, but three strikeouts stranded him there to end the game.

“You saw the two home runs they hit,” said Cabot coach Chris Gross after the White Hall loss. “But we’ve got both our starters coming back tomorrow for the semifinals and the championship, and I think we’re sitting really good to win it.”

Tillery had one hit and the one run scored for Centennial, and McCutchen and Brockinton had the triples.