Tuesday, June 06, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Centennial Bank team loses first

Leader sports editor

The Cabot senior American Legion team lost for the first time this season when it traveled to Sheridan on Saturday. The home team, made up mostly of members of the two-time defending Class 6A state champions, rallied from deficits of 3-1 and 5-3 to beat the visiting Centennial Bank squad 6-5 in 10 innings.

Brody Schluter pitched six innings and took the no decision, but his performance drew praises from Cabot coach Casey Vaughan, a Cabot High and Centennial Bank alum who just completed his fourth season of college baseball, and his first at the Division I level at Arkansas State University.

“People had told me this could fill up the zone,” said Vaughan. “We didn’t have him last year, so I was just astonished at how good of a pitcher he is. He’s low velocity, but he’s got three or four pitches he can throw for a strike whenever he wants. He did a great job of keeping batters off balance.”

Cabot’s defense wasn’t as solid as usual. The Centennial Bank team committed four errors, including one that resulted in the game-winning run in the bottom of the final inning.

Pitcher Gino Germer took over with two on and no outs in the ninth inning after Sheridan had tied the game. The southpaw struck out two Sheridan batters and then got an infield pop-up to keep the home team from scoring the winning run in the ninth.

But in the 10th, Germer walked two before a sacrifice bunt turned into an infield single that loaded the bases with no outs. The next batter hit a grounder to second base, where Michael Shepherd fielded the ball for Cabot.

Shepherd had been used exclusively as a pitcher throughout the high school season, and his rust in the infield showed. With the infield playing in, Shepherd made a difficult stop look easy, but his throw home was high, allowing the winning run to cross the plate.

“We had some guys doing some other things so we didn’t have our full roster of guys,” Vaughan said.

“For the lineup we had, with guys maybe a little out of place and playing against the 6A state champions, I don’t think it’s a knock on these guys at all. We had a chance to win it. A couple walks and a bad throw got us in the end, but I thought these guys played great,” the coach said.

Schluter and Caleb Harpole led the way offensively, both with two base hits, making up four of Cabot’s seven total. Logan Edmondson, Koletan Eastham and Jack Broyles each got one base hit apiece.

Schluter pitched six innings, giving up seven hits, four total runs but only three earned. He struck out three and walked two. Dylan Billingsley pitched two and one-third innings. He gave up two hits and one earned run with two Ks and two walks.

Cabot (2-1) traveled to Russellville to take on the Cogswell Motors team at Arkansas Tech University on Tuesday. The Centennial Bank squad will host Bryant in a junior/senior doubleheader tonight at the Cabot Sports Complex. The junior team’s first pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. The senior team will follow.