Friday, April 10, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Solid pitching lifts Panther softball team

Leader sports editor

The Cabot softball team picked up a pair of wins this week, defeating nonconference opponents Benton-Harmony Grove and Sylvan Hills by a combined score of 19-2. On Tuesday, the Lady Panthers knocked off BHG 6-0 on the strength of 10 strikeouts by Kaitlyn Felder. The following day, Megan Goodnight and Lauren McCluskey combined to hold the Lady Bears to just three hits in a 13-2 final.

Goodnight also highlighted a 13-hit performance by Cabot on Wednesday, smashing a walk-off, three-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning to end the game on the sportsmanship rule. It was Goodnight’s fourth home run of the season and the team’s 11th.

Sylvan Hills didn’t help its own cause, committing six errors, which led to four unearned runs for Cabot. The Lady Panthers opened up the scoring with three runs in the bottom of the first inning, four in the second, three in the third and three more in the fifth to set the final margin. Sylvan Hills got one run in the second and one in the third.

Goodnight went 3 for 4 with four RBIs while McCluskey went 3 for 4 with a double, a triple, one RBI and two runs scored.

Leadoff hitter Heather Hill and five-hole Erin Eckert each got two base hits for the Lady Panthers.

Goodnight started on the mound and pitched three innings. She gave up two hits and two earned runs while striking out one and walking three. McCluskey threw the final two innings, giving up one hit while fanning two and walking no one.

Sylvan Hills’ Doma’Nique Hunt scored the Lady Bears’ first run and drove in the second. She drew a leadoff walk in the second inning and moved to second on a hit by Storm Ellis. Taylor Yeoman was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Goodnight walked Lynlee Broadway to score Hunt from third. In the third inning, Hunt’s RBI double scored Callie Cavender, who, two batters earlier, hit a one-out double to left field.

Felder also gave up just three hits in Tuesday’s shutout victory while going the seven-inning distance on the mound. Her 10 strikeouts were accompanied by just one walk.

Cabot’s bats weren’t as alive on Tuesday, but BHG also helped Cabot with five errors that led to all six runs being unearned. Six different Lady Panthers got one hit apiece with Hill, Goodnight, Bethany Knowles and Ashlyn Spears picking up RBIs.

The Lady Panthers hosted a doubleheader against Mountain Home on Friday after deadlines. See details of those games in Wednesday’s edition of The Leader.