Friday, July 21, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot pulls away for win

Leader sports editor

CONWAY – The Centennial Bank Senior American Legion team plowed through first-round opponent Arkadelphia at the state tournament on Friday at the University of Central Arkansas.

The Cabot squad struggled for a few innings with Arkadelphia starting pitcher Braydon Todd, but once the hitters found their footing, it turned into a blowout as Cabot won 10-5.

Meanwhile Arkadelphia could never figure out Cabot starting pitcher Caleb Wilson, who went eight and two-thirds innings.

He gave up just one run on four base hits through eight innings, but fatigue began to set in in the ninth inning and Arkadelphia got four runs off four hits before Dylan Billingsley came in to face the final three batters.

Neither team scored through the first four innings, and Cabot finally broke that cycle in the top of the fifth. Rail Gilliam drew a leadoff walk. Michael Crumbly then drilled a hard ground ball that ate up shortstop Alec Ruble for an E6 that left runners safe on the corners.

Jack Broyles got the game’s first RBI with a fly ball to deep center field to put Cabot up 1-0. With two outs, leadoff hitter Blake McCutchen was hit before Caleb Harpole hit into another E6 that scored Crumbly.

Arkadelphia got its first run in the bottom of the fifth on singles by Deven Horn and Ruble, but Cabot added four runs to its lead in the top of the sixth.

Brodey Schluter started it with a leadoff walk, but he was still standing on first base after two fly balls to center field. That’s when Arkadelphia’s defense went slightly awry.

Though there were no official errors scored, two times the second baseman, center fielder and right fielder let a routine blooper fall in between them.

The first was off Crumbly’s bat, and Broyles followed that with two-RBI singles to left field. Wilson then hit a pop fly to the exact same spot at Crumbly, and again no one called it and no one caught it, making it a single for the nine-hole hitter.

McCutchen then drilled a line drive down the left-field line that the speedster turned into an RBI triple for a 6-1 Centennial Bank lead.

Cabot went three up, three down in the seventh, but added four more in the bottom of the eighth for a 10-1 lead, but should have ended it if not for a base running mistake.

Again, the big inning started with a leadoff walk, this time by Gilliam. Crumbly lined out to center field, but Broyles singled to score Gilliam, who had stolen second base. Wilson and McCutchen made it three-straight singles to load the bases.

Caleb Harpole and Brian Tillery made four and five in a row.

Harpole’s shot drove in one run and Tillery’s brought in two more, but he was thrown out trying to sneak into second base after the throw went home to try to get McCutchen.

Without that, it would have been two on with one out, and Cabot needing just one more run to end the game on the mercy rule. But the inning ended on the next at-bat when Schluter struck out.

Arkadelphia’s bats finally came alive with two outs in the bottom of the ninth after Wilson hit 107 pitches. Arkadelphia hit three-consecutive singles before a triple and another single set the final margin.

Wilson left the mound after the triple. Billingsley then gave up a single and a walk before striking out Todd to end the game.

Cabot will play last night’s winner between Paragould and Benton at 7 p.m. today at UCA.