Tuesday, April 19, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Power can’t lift Cabot to first place

Leader sports editor

The Lady Panther softball team continued to hit for power in the annual Beebe/Cabot Invitational on Saturday, but a lack of timely hits and three errors in the field cost it the tournament championship.

Cabot pounded out five home runs in three games on Saturday. But the Lady Panthers lost the championship game 7-6 to Bauxite in eight innings.

Cabot hit three of its five home runs Saturday against the Lady Miners, but two errors allowed two unearned runs, including the tying run in the bottom of the sixth after Cabot held leads of 5-1 and 6-3.

The Lady Panthers had a prime opportunity to take the lead and likely win the game when it got runners on second and third with one out in the seventh.

Then in the extra inning, Cabot got its automatic runner to third with one out. But in both situations, a strikeout with one out was followed by easy fly balls to thwart the threats.

Bauxite won the game in the bottom of the eighth with textbook execution. The leadoff hitter sacrificed the automatic runner to third, and the next batter singled to drive in the game- and tournament-winning run.

It was Cabot’s first loss in eight games, but it was still mostly good news on the day.

The Lady Panthers shut out their first two opponents by a combined 26-0, beating Jacksonville 11-0 to open tournament play, then hammering Lake Hamilton 15-0 in the second round.

Cabot took advantage of eight base hits and six Jacksonville errors while Lauren McCluskey threw a one-hitter over five innings. She only struck out one, but the only hit she allowed was a slap single down the third-base line by Zylah Richardson.

Heather Hill went 3 for 3 with three RBIs, including a solo home run in the first inning.

Against Lake Hamilton, Cabot scored 14 runs in the bottom of the first to put the Lady Wolves away early.

Hannah Montgomery highlighted the inning with a grand slam. It was her second at-bat of the inning and made the score 12-0. Montgomery also threw a no-hitter over three innings with five strikeouts and no walks.

Hill went 5 for 6 at the plate in the tournament, and walked five times.

Cabot (13-3, 6-0) faced North Little Rock in a huge 7A/6A-East Conference game on Tuesday after deadlines. They will give the return match to the Charging Lady Wildcats on Thursday. Look for details of both of those games in Saturday’s edition of The Leader.