Tuesday, May 05, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Panther power leads to win at ATU

Leader sports editor

The Lady Panther softball team scored six runs on eight hits and took advantage of four Atkins errors to beat the Lady Red Devils 6-1 Monday in a nonconference matchup at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville.

Cabot pitcher Megan Good-night threw six innings of shutout ball before yielding a run in the bottom of the seventh on two singles and a hit batter. The Senior right-hander gave up six hits total while striking out eight and walking two.

Cabot got on the board first in the top of the second inning when a leadoff double by Kaitlyn Felder was followed two batters later by a two-out single by Hannah Montgomery.

The Lady Panthers got the first two runners on in the third inning when Macee Abbott beat out a single to shortstop and Heather Hill doubled to center field. That put runners on second and third, and Lauren McCluskey hit a sacrifice grounder to shortstop to score Abbott while Hill held up at second. An error advanced Hill to third, and another error allowed her to score to give Cabot a 3-0 lead.

Cabot had another rally going in the fourth inning, but it stopped at just one run when Abbott, who was originally called safe at second on a line drive single by Hill, was called out on appeal. But before that, Bethany Knowles scored on Hill’s line drive to make it 4-0.

In the top of the fifth, Goodnight opened the inning by sending a 0-1 pitch over the wall in center field, her team-leading eighth home run of the season and a school record. The team’s 22 home runs is also a school record in fastpitch softball, which began in 1998.

“It’s by far the most home runs of any team I’ve coached,” said Cabot coach Chris Cope. “My first year at Dardanelle I had a girl hit two or three maybe. My teams at Searcy probably never hit more than that. I think the weight room has helped us more than anything. We’ve done the weights here more than anywhere I’ve been. And it seems like they keep making the bats hotter so that plays a part in it, too.”

Felder almost duplicated Goodnight’s hit, but her shot hit the wall in center for a stand-up double. Courtesy runner Shauna Attendorn replaced the catcher on the base paths, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice bunt by Rachel Allgood to cap Cabot’s scoring.

Felder went 2 for 4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI. Hill went 2 for 4 with a double and a run batted in, and Abbott went 2 for 3.

Cabot (23-4, 11-1) hosted West Memphis in a 7A/6A-East Conference game on Tuesday, and will travel to Crittenden County for the rematch and conference finale on Friday.