Friday, June 23, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Centennial strikeouts dominate Gwatney

Leader sports editor

Cabot’s Centennial Bank Junior American Legion team traveled to Jacksonville on Tuesday and defeated the Gwatney Chevrolet squad 7-2 at Dupree Park. Cabot got an outstanding performance from starting pitcher Austin Scritchfield. After getting into some trouble out of the gate, Scritchfield dominated.

Jacksonville held Cabot scoreless in the top of the first inning, and then took a 1-0 lead in the bottom half. Leadoff hitter Peyton Williams singled to left field on the first pitch. Robert Johnson then hit a grounder to second place that was missed, leaving runners safe on corners. Jaylon McGee then singled to right field, scoring Williams. He also advanced to second on the unsuccessful throw to the plate. That made the score 1-0, and left two runners in scoring position with no outs.

That’s when Scritchfield’s domination started. He struck out the next three batters to keep the damage from the bad start to a minimum. In the bottom of the second inning, Jacksonville’s Clay Burrows hit a leadoff single to left field, but Scritchfield again answered by striking out the side with the next three batters. In the third inning, Scritchfield sat Jacksonville down in order, again all strikeouts, giving the pitcher nine Ks in three innings of work.

He retired Gwatney in order in the fourth inning, but without a strikeout. He then fanned two of three in the fifth inning to end his night on the mound. Scritchfield pitched five innings, gave up three hits and one earned run while striking out 11 and walking zero. The first nine outs of the game were all strikeouts.

Meanwhile, Cabot took the lead in the top of the second inning and never trailed after that. Blake Buffalo hit a leadoff single to start the rally, and Brock Martin walked. Jake Moudy’s sacrifice bunt moved the runners into scoring position, and two Jacksonville errors on the next two at-bats brought in two runs.

With two outs, Mason Griffin singled to left field to score Graham Turner and made it a 3-1 Cabot lead.

Neither team scored in the third or fourth innings, but the Centennial Bank squad posted three in the top of the fifth. That rally started with another Jacksonville error after Scritchfield hit a grounder to shortstop. He moved to second on a wild pitch, but caught in a rundown and tagged out after Griffin grounded to third base.

Tanner Wilson was hit by a pitch to put two runners on base. Masen Wade and Buffalo then hit back-to-back singles to drive in two more runs. Griffin later scored on a wild pitch to give Cabot a 6-1 lead.

Jackson Olivi took the mound for Cabot in the sixth inning. He also struck out the side, but scattered those Ks among four walks that gave Gwatney Chevrolet another run.

The game’s final run came in the top of the seventh inning. Martin got a two-out single, and two more infield errors brought him around to set the final margin.

Logan Bell pitched the final inning for Cabot. He sat Jacksonville down in order, striking out two.

Cabot’s three pitchers combined for 16 strikeouts over seven innings.

Jacksonville finished with six errors, all in the infield. Of Cabot’s seven runs, only the three in the fifth inning were earned.