Tuesday, April 07, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Panthers take two wins over Patriots

Leader sportswriter

The Cabot High School baseball team improved its conference record to 4-0 with an easy doubleheader sweep of Marion on Friday at Brian Wade Conrade Memorial Field in Cabot.

The Panthers (6-4, 4-0) beat the Patriots 15-0 in four innings in game one, and in game two, Cabot shut out Marion (4-7, 0-4) again, this time in five innings, winning by the final score of 13-0.

Cabot wasted little time putting runs on the board in game one. The Panthers scored 10 of their 15 runs in the first inning to take complete control of the game.

“We jumped on them early,” said Cabot coach Ronnie Goodwin. “We took advantage of a couple of their miscues, but we played really well in that first inning, too. It wasn’t just their miscues. We did some things execution-wise that were pretty nice, and it just kind of started to snowball.

“We put together some quality at-bats after an error here or there, and it just kind of snowballed on them. They had a little bit to do with it, but we had a lot to do with it. So I want to give our guys credit for that.”

Cabot scored its final five runs of the game in the second inning, and starting pitcher Gavin Tillery kept Marion’s bats at bay for the remainder of the mercy rule-shortened game. Tillery gave up just one hit in the four innings played – finishing the complete game with three strikeouts and no walks allowed.

The Panthers racked up eight hits in that game, with Dylan Bowers and Landon James leading the way with multiple hits.

Cabot didn’t jump out to as big of a lead in game two, but piled on the runs as the game progressed en route to its second shutout win of the evening. The Panthers, playing as the visiting team in game two, scored their first run in the top of the first inning.

Bowers walked to lead off the game. He stole second and third base before scoring on a sacrifice fly to right field by catcher Denver Mullins. The Panthers scored again in the second inning.

With two outs, Jonathan Latture singled to center field, and Evan Hooper and Bowers walked the next two at-bats. With the bases loaded, Mullins walked, which allowed Latture to score and give the Panthers a 2-0 lead.

Cabot scored four runs in the third inning. James walked to lead off that inning, and teammate Logan Kirkendoll walked two batters later. The next at-bat, second baseman Blake McCutchen drew a walk to load the bases, and all three runners scored the following at-bat.

Latture hit a fly ball to right field that was dropped, and consecutive throwing errors on the same play allowed James, Kirkendoll and McCutchen to score, making it 5-0 Panthers.

Latture was later thrown out on a 5-2 fielder’s choice at home, which was off the bat of Hooper. Hooper scored the final run of that inning on a two-out single up the middle by Mullins.

Cabot followed that four-run third inning with five runs scored in the fourth. James started the inning with an infield single to shortstop, and he went to second base on the same play thanks to the Marion shortstop’s errant throw to first base.

Eric Larsen walked the next at-bat, and Kirkendoll reached on a fielder’s choice at second base the following at-bat. McCutchen was next up for Cabot, and he drove in James with a stand-up double to right-center field that would’ve been a triple had Kirkendoll not held up at third base.

McCutchen took a hard turn at second, not expecting Kirkendoll to stop at third, and McCutchen got caught in a rundown between second and third base as a result. Marion, though, made an errant throw into right field during the rundown, which allowed Kirkendoll and McCutchen to score, putting Cabot up 9-0.

Hooper drove in Cabot’s 10th run of game two with a single to the left-field gap, scoring Jake Slunder, who walked the previous at-bat and stole second base with Hooper at the plate. Bowers later scored the final run of the inning on a passed ball at the plate – giving the Panthers an 11-0 cushion.

The final score was set in the top of the fifth. Larsen walked to start the inning, and Easton Seidl drove in Larsen’s courtesy runner, Mike Havard, with a triple that dropped at the wall in left field.

Seidl’s near home run gave Cabot a 12-0 lead, and Seidl scored the final run of the game shortly after on a passed ball at the plate.

Cabot’s Chase Kyzer earned the win on the mound in game two. He threw all five innings, giving up just one hit, no walks, and he struck out two Patriots batters.

Cabot drew 13 walks in game two, and added seven base hits. Mullins, James, McCutchen, Latture, Hooper, Seidl and Slunder each had one hit for the Panthers.

The Panthers’ next game will be another 7A/6A-East doubleheader Friday at home against Mountain Home. The first game of that twin bill is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m.