Monday, July 03, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> The A Team gelling, wins four of five

Leader sports editor

The Cabot-Centennial Bank A Team is in the midst of an apparent season turnaround. After starting the season with nine-straight losses, and just two wins in the first 18 games, the junior American Legion squad won four of its last five games last week, improving the overall season record to 6-16-1.

A three-game winning streak started with a 7-3 win over Mount Vernon last Monday. Since then, Cabot beat Vilonia 13-3 last Wednesday, and Mount Vernon again 11-5 on Thursday. Last Friday, the winning streak came to an end with a 7-2 loss in the opening game of a doubleheader at Searcy, but Cabot bounced right back for a 4-2 win in the nightcap.

The key to the turnaround has been as simple a matter as time and experience.

“We started off playing teams that have been together through the high school season,” said A Team coach Steven Moore. “We’rea team that has been thrown together, and we’ve been trying to put the pieces together as we go. They’re learning each other and learning to play as a team.”

In Wednesday’s win over Vilonia, Cabot only had four base hits by two different players, but they were all at key times, resulting in seven RBIs. Cabot drew 11 walks and has runners on base when Braylen Moore and Austin Calhoon came through. Moore went 2 for 3 with a triple and four RBIs. Calhoon went 2 for 4 with three RBIs.

Coy Lovercheck pitched all five innings of the run-rule win. He gave up seven hit while three strikeouts and three walks.

On Thursday, Cabot fell behind 3-0 in the top of the first inning after Mount Vernon got two hits, a walk and benefited from one Cabot error. But the A Team dominated the rest of the way.

The home team answered with five runs in the bottom of the first and never trailed again.

Calhoon got the win on the mound and had three base hits offensively.

He pitched all seven innings, giving up just five hits and one earned run while striking out eight and walking three. He also went 3 for 4 at the plate, scored three runs and drove in two more.

Evan McCoy also went 3 for 4, and he drove in three runs. Brian Tillery, Jacob Caswell and Hayden Wood had one base hit apiece.

Cabot managed just three base hits in the loss to Searcy, once each by Braylen Moore, McCoy and Lee Lenahan. But an old problem reared its head in that game, and Cabot committed five errors.

“We’ve had those games where we’ve had seven, eight and even nine errors,” Steven Moore said. “The difference is, where early on we would bite each others’ heads off for those mistakes, now we’re picking each other up. Everybody is playing together as a team, and that’s the biggest thing. They’re just becoming a team.”

Zach Eveleth and Ethan Hance combined to throw a three-hitter in the nightcap victory. Eveleth pitched two innings and Hance the final three.

Calhoon went 2 for 3 at the plate while McCoy and Eveleth went 1 for 3, each with a double. Eveleth’s hit drove in two runs.