Friday, July 07, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot seniors 3-2 at Memphis

By RAY BENTON Leader sports editor 

Winning the first three games of the Keith Hagan All-American Classic in Memphis meant some tough competition in the final two rounds for the Cabot Senior American Legion baseball team.

With only four teams left without a loss, Cabot faced the Tigers-16 club out of Memphis and fell 5-3 to drop to the consolation bracket. There the Centennial Bank squad met a familiar foe in a battle of defending Arkansas state finalists.

Cabot, the defending Double-A champion, faced defending Senior runner-up Bryant and lost 11-2, a team it had beaten earlier this season.

Cabot had pulled off two come-from-behind wins in earlier rounds, but that script was flipped in the loss to the Memphis squad. Cabot scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning to take a quick lead.

The score was tied at the end of the third inning, but the Tigers scored one run each in the top of the sixth and seventh innings for the win.

In the first inning, Blake McCutchen and Caleb Harpole hit back-to-back singles to start the frame. With McCutchen on third base, Dillon Thomas hit a sacrifice fly to center field to drive in the first run. Brian Tillery’s groundout advanced Harpole to third, and he scored on a wild pitch. Memphis had scored in the top of the inning, so Harpole’s run gave Cabot a 2-1 lead.

The lead only lasted until the next half inning, when the Tigers got two singles and a double to claim a 3-2 lead, but Cabot tied it in the bottom of the third. Again McCutchen led off with a single and reached third on Thomas’ one-out single. Tillery then grounded to shortstop to score McCutchen, but Thomas was thrown out trying to get to third base on the play. Tillery was then caught stealing to end the inning.

Three singles gave the Tigers the lead in the top of the sixth.

Cabot got its first two runners on in the bottom of the sixth after walks by Tillery and Brody Schluter. Brett Brockinton then grounded back to the mound for the first out and advanced, but overly aggressive base running ended the rally on the next at-bat.

Rail Gilliam grounded hard to third base where Schluter was tagged out, and the throw home go Tillery to end the inning.

In the seventh, a walk, a stolen base, a wild pitch and a sac fly set the final margin.

Brockinton took the loss on the mound. He gave up eight hits and a walk while striking out eight. Cabot had five base hits with McCutchen going 2 for 3 to lead the way.

Playing as the visiting team against Bryant, Cabot scored one run in the top of the first inning, but gave up three in the bottom half and never led from that point.

McCutchen reached on an error at second base and scored on a two-out base hit by Tillery.

For Bryant, Logan Allen hit a one-out triple and scored on a single by Dylan Hurt. Brandon Hoover then grounded into an E4 to score Hurt. Hoover later scored on a wild pitch by Koletan Eastham for the 3-1 lead.

The Centennial Bank squad got one back in the top of the third, but blew an opportunity for many more runs. After a leadoff single by Eastham, McCutchen was hit and Bryant flubbed Harpole’s bunt to leave the bases loaded with no outs.

Thomas then struck out and Tillery’s 4-3 groundout scored Eastham. After Gilliam’s walked loaded the bases again, Brockinton struck out to end the threat.

Bryant then scored three more unearned runs thanks to two walks and a two-out error. After the error that would have ended the inning, Bryant hit back-to-back singles to go up 6-2.

The Black Sox then went off in the bottom of the sixth inning. The first five batters reached base on two hits, two walks and a hit batter off relief pitcher Tillery for an 8-2 lead. After a fly ball to right, Matthew Sandidge tripled to drive in the game’s final runs.

Cabot finished with six base hits, this time Michael Crumbly was the only Centennial Bank player with two.

Bryant had eight base hits and drew six free bases on five walks and one hit batter. The Sox also benefited from two costly Cabot errors.

The Centennial Bank team comes home from the tournament with a record of 11-10.