Friday, March 10, 2017

EDITORIAL >> Cotton slams replacement

Nothing could be more telling about the American Health Care Act of 2017, the Republican replacement for the hated Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, than the White House’s insistence this week that it NOT be called Trumpcare.

It was the clever Republican strategy of calling the Affordable Care Act “Obamacare” that poisoned the debate in 2010, when Congress passed the big insurance reform without a single Republican vote. Obama was immensely unpopular across the South and the rural Midwest, and the new law had to carry all the president’s baggage along with the terms socialized medicine, government control of health care, death panels, ending Medicare and all the rest of the labels created by Republican strategist Frank Luntz, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Prosperity.

When the president said he was happy with the epithet “Obamacare,” that is what it became. Objective news media even adopted the name.

To his credit, President Trump clearly had not even the slightest role in designing the unbelievably complicated Republican plan, because he never had the slightest understanding of Obamacare and the complexities of the health insurance market. He admitted two weeks ago that he was shocked by how confusing it all was. But while the big Republican plan achieves none of the things Trump promised, except to nominally “repeal” Obamacare, he praised it, called it his own and demanded that Congress pass it forthwith exactly as House leaders wrote it. He called it “beautiful”; everybody will have health insurance and love it! Just don’t call it Trumpcare.

Conservative Republicans immediately called it Obamacare Lite and Obamacare 2.0. Rather than destroy the Affordable Care Act, the Republican plan embraces its major strategies but changes the details in ways that achieve one goal—removing the cost burdens on the rich and to some extent the young and piling them on the poor and the aging, those from 45 to 64. For those over the age of 64, Medicare will lose major funding and face a bleak future that will almost certainly mean rising costs for the elderly and disabled who depend upon it.

That is essential Trumpcare. Despite Trump’s protestations, that is what it will be, for it is he alone who makes it possible, if indeed the plan makes it through Congress to his desk. Arkansas’ Sen. Tom Cotton, a big Trump fan and lately an adviser, having heard from angry Arkansas constituents who stand to lose their medical coverage, announced midweek that the plan was a mess and could not be passed in the Senate. Cotton didn’t need a study by the Congressional Budget Office to know that tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of Arkansans will lose their medical coverage or else spend so much more for premiums and deductibles that it will change their lives for the worse.

Instant analyses by think tanks like the Brookings Institution and Kaiser Foundation and interest groups like the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, nurses groups and AARP said the Republican plan would cause millions to lose their insurance or else accept essentially worthless insurance. One study said up to 16 million of the 20 million people insured under Obamacare could lose coverage. It depends on how much the market collapses from the devastating changes.

Can we do a short primer? Both Obamacare and Trumpcare are immensely complicated in their details but follow simple outlines. Both try to expand coverage to citizens through the free market (the insurance industry) instead of mandatory government insurance like Social Security, disability insurance and Medicare. The government requires insurance to cover certain medical procedures and treatments. Obamacare added that companies could no longer refuse to insure people because of an existing condition or cut them off when their medical costs rose and that youngsters could stay on their parents’ plans until they are 26. Trumpcare keeps those popular features.

Obamacare and Trumpcare seek to help people buy private insurance through fundable tax credits, but Obamacare provides greater tax credits the poorer you are, or otherwise no low-wage family could afford a plan. People with higher incomes will fare better with Trumpcare.

A big, big difference: Trumpcare favors young healthy people, those in their 20s and 30s, who will see their premiums go down. Companies will be able to charge older people, who are within a decade of reaching Medicare, five times as much as they charge young people. A 64-year-old woman earning $16,000 a year might get a policy for $8,400 a year if she could get one at all.

Here’s an irony. Young people voted against Trump by huge margins. He won big among older people. When all these changes take place—after the next election—Donald Trump doesn’t want people thinking Trumpcare.

The biggest change is this: Trumpcare repeals taxes on the rich and industries that pay for Medicare, Medicaid and the tax credits: the additional Medicare tax on family incomes above $250,000, the 3.8 percent Medicare tax on net investment incomes that falls on the richest 1 percent of Americans, a 10 percent excise tax on the cancer-producing indoor-tanning industry, and small taxes on the pharmaceutical and medical equipment industries.

Those taxes were the drivers of the seven-year repeal-Obamacare campaign. Trump and Congress had to get rid of them if nothing else. But those taxes have paid for Obamacare even while shrinking the national deficit, which will begin to soar again once the taxes cease.

Then there’s Medicaid expansion, the third leg of Obamacare, which has been such a bonanza for Arkansas, providing medical care for more than 300,000 of Arkansas’ poorest, swelling the state treasury, paying for tax cuts for most Arkansans, creating thousands of jobs and solidifying Arkansas’ crashing community hospitals. Trumpcare does away with it in 2020 (two elections hence), at least the features that brought so many advantages to Arkansas. In 2020, the federal government will no longer pay for rising costs of caring for the aged in nursing homes, the disabled, children or poor working adults. The state government will have to do it, or else turn them out of the beds.

But if the current legislative session is any guide, the Arkansas legislature and the governor won’t view that as a problem. Gov. Hutchinson last week expressed his great pleasure that some 25,000 poor people had lost coverage under his Medicaid changes and that he hoped to make changes, with Trump’s approval, that will leave tens of thousands more to their own devices.

TOP STORY >> Retiring teacher roasted

Leader staff writer

Cabot High School chemistry and physics teacher Dwight Daugherty was honored Tuesday during the Cabot Scholarship Foundation’s Roast and Toast dinner at Cabot Junior High North cafeteria.

Daugherty, 62, is retiring at the end of the school year after a 23-year teaching career.

Nearly 600 people attended the 22nd annual Cabot Scholarship Foundation’s Roast and Toast fundraiser. This year, the foundation awarded $124,050 in scholarship money to 119 seniors. The students learned what scholarship they received during the banquet. Scholarships ranged from $500 to $1,500.

Daugherty was a salesman for 17 years until he entered college at Arkansas State University as a 37-year-old.

He graduated in three years from the University of Central Arkansas. He taught at the Mt. Vernon Enola School District for three years where he led the science department.

Administrator Robert Martin convinced him to come teach at Cabot in 1997.

Daugherty was involved with NASA and applied to be an astronaut. He earned finalist status in 2003 and was rejected for medical reasons. He was a guest at two shuttle launches and met most of the Apollo-era astronauts.

Kim Usery also teaches chemistry and physics at the high school.

“Over the past 20 years it has been quite an adventure working with such a talented teacher,” she said.

Usery spoke about the “S” building before the construc tion of the new high school building. They had desks and chairs that were connected with a bar. Over the years, wear and tear caused the bar to fall off. The desk would slant and students would have to slide into their desks.

“I was ending up with a lot of these desks. Mr. D. would come into my room and say Mrs. Usery, I don’t know what you are doing to these desks. Mine are fine. You’ve got to stop letting these kids sit on the desks,” she said.

Three years later after the new building was built, Daugherty confessed to Usery.

“Every day after school he would go into my room, take my good desk and replace it with his broken desk, until I had an entire class set of broken desks,” Usery said.

Daugherty likes practical jokes.

She said during parent-teacher conference nights she took her children home and rushed back to school. She never knew what would be hanging on her door when she got back before parents came to her room.

“One year he put a note on my door that said ‘Mrs. Usery cannot be at open house tonight due to the fact that her ankle monitor does not let her out past 6 p.m.’

“Another year he put a box outside my door that said ‘Mrs. Usery will draw names for a free $25 gift card to Colton’s. Please put your name in the box. Mrs. Usery will draw the names at the end of the night.’”

Usery said she saw parents writing and dropping cards and didn’t realize what was happening until halfway through the night.

“It has been a phenomenal 20 years teaching with him. I will be a lost soul next year. He is one of the most intelligent individuals I have ever met. The students who had him in class have benefited greatly,” Usery said.

Cheyenne Wilson is a 2009 Cabot High School graduate and is now an orthopedic physician’s assistant in Batesville.

During graduation she spoke for her class. Following the ceremony Daugherty approached her and immediately asked her to give a eulogy at his funeral.

“I didn’t know if it was a compliment or his many backhanded ways to say it was a boring, horrible speech. When he asked me to speak tonight I began to panic. I knew he was planning on retiring, but I wasn’t sure if he was planning to retire both from teaching and from this world,” Wilson said.

She said Daugherty was an “awesome dude” because he believes in showing respect to others with a witty phrase on a sticky note stealthily applied on an unsuspecting student’s back.

When Wilson was in high school the place to eat lunch was Daugherty’s classroom.

“He was there and cared to learn about what was happening in our lives. He would listen, laugh and cry with us when we needed it. He was everything we needed during the stressful years of high school,” Wilson said.

“He would stash spare food for students who forgot or could not afford a lunch.

“One year a student ripped a hole in the only pair of pants he owned and Mr. D. went out-of-his-way to supply him with proper clothes. Another year, a pair of sisters who were not going to have a Christmas was provided one by Mr. D.

“He has written hundreds of recommendation letters, eloquently and painstakingly personalized. He tutored students in high school and college without asking for a dime,” Wilson said.

She said every time she visited Daugherty he told her to believe in herself, don’t sell herself short and wished she could see herself through his eyes.

Retired teacher Jana Smith said Daugherty was her true soul mate in teaching.

“He always has an un-quenchable thirst for knowledge combined with a phenomenal vision. When he was a kindergartener moving from state to state with migrant worker parents, he lived in a chicken house with a dirt floor and no electricity in Michigan during winter.

“One might respond with how very sad,” Smith said.

But Dwight recalls how cool he thought it was because he could clean out the coops and have a cubby space for his clothes and belongings,” she said.

“As a third grader he got his parents to buy an encyclopedia set from a door-to-door salesman, affording one volume per month; so he could have a book to read at home. Each month he read each one as best he could from cover-to-cover.

“Perhaps we now know where the foundation of his knowledge began,” she said.

Life and finances would not provide an opportunity for Dwight to go to college until his late 30s. He decided to do something worthwhile and felt teaching was his calling.

“When Mr. D. arrived, one never knew what quotes, memos, charts or pictures might grace the walls of the halls, the teacher’s lounge or the bathroom,” Smith said.

She continued, “The copier was the bane of Dwight’s existence. It rarely worked properly. Signs to the repairmen were frequently left on the copier in hopes to motivate to get the job done.

“One morning we found the machine had been pushed outside with a sign—Copier For Sale,” she said.

To better prepare students for the rigors of college chemistry, advanced placement chemistry was added to the curriculum under the guidance of Daugherty.

“If Dwight conceives a worthwhile idea, he will develop and orchestrate a plan and seldom take no for an answer. He purposed an AP academy be set up to enhance college entrance for the AP students and get them more involved in the community,” she said.

He also had the idea to start up a program of teachers volunteering to contribute to scholarships.

Daugherty said he didn’t expect to make it at Cabot.

“When Dr. Thurman became principal at the high school, he approached me and said, ‘Do you have a résumé?’ I said yes. He said update it and give me a copy and walked off. That doesn’t make you want to invest in real estate in Cabot,” Daugherty said.

“After few years later, I had come back from a chemistry conference and grew my first beard. Dr. Thurman catches my daughter and says your Daddy looks like a tuna boat captain,” he said.

“The greatest thing about teaching is the kids at the tables here tonight. This career satisfies my soul like nothing else has,” Daugherty said.

The Cabot Scholarship Foundation is a nonprofit organization that formed in 1992 by the Cabot Centennial Committee to encourage and recognize academic success in Cabot schools. The foundation held its first Roast and Toast fundraiser in 1996.

TOP TORY >> Sig Sauer pushing back its opening

SIG Sauer has postponed the opening of its new ammunition plant in Jacksonville from March 20 to sometime in June.

Shannon Jackson, a spokeswoman for the company, told The Leader on Wednesday it has taken longer to install the factory’s equipment than expected.

The $3.6 million project is expected to create up to 150 jobs. In January, the company hired 50 people during a jobs fair hosted by the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce.

Longtime chamber director Amy Mattison was among those hired. She will lead SIG Sauer’s human resources department at the new plant, which will replace the company’s Kentucky operation.

The ammo plant will manufacture several calibers of ammunition at the old 70,000 square foot Meador Brothers Lighting building off Swift Drive.

The plant was originally scheduled to open at the end of 2016, but renovations started late, delaying the opening.

The Arkansas Economic Development Corporation provided SIG Sauer with $800,000 in tax breaks to relocate to Jacksonville.

The Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce Foundation committed to giving $150,000 to SIG Sauer.

SIG Sauer is based in Exeter, N.H.

TOP STORY >> Follow yellow brick road to Beebe

Leader staff writer

Beebe High School will perform the musical “The Wizard of Oz” at 7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at the Beebe High Auditorium, 1201 W. Center St. Admission is $5 for adults and $4 for students.

“The Wizard of Oz” is the tale of Dorothy and her little dog, Toto landing on top of a witch after a tornado picked up their house in Kansas. They follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City to meet with the Wizard of Oz to get back home. Along the way they are joined by Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion.

The cast includes Erin McNully as Dorothy Gale, Cheyenne Mayo as Aunt Em, Kristian Brown as Uncle Henry, Bo Copeland as Hunk and Scarecrow, Austin Wright as Hickory and Tin Man, Blake Gordon as Zeke and Cowardly Lion, Kayleigh McCoy as Miss Almira Gulch and the Wicked Witch of the West, Lucas Diffy as Professor Chester Marvel and the Wizard of Oz, Emily Dobbs as Glinda the Good Witch of the North and Sophia Totten as Toto.

The Munchkins Mayor is Emily Humphrey, Coroner and Braggart is Sydni Skinner, Cheyenne Mayo is the Barrister, Hayley Murry and Ethan McNully are the City Fathers. The Tough Guys are Ethan McNully, Jon Marc Pinkerton and Kaleb Kimbrough. The Fiddler is Gabby Patterson. Teachers are Gabby Patterson and Kaeli Woechan. The Lullaby League are Avery Goff, Kerri Hamilton and Laurel Hill. The Munchkin Lady is Nasasha Smith. Trees are Joey Weichbrodt, Rachel Patrom and Kaitlin Driskill.

The Ozians Beauticians are Annalisse Merritt, Kaitlin Driskill, Rylee Gordon, Zoe Watson, Rachel Patrom, Gabby Patterson, Skilar Mad-dox, Laurel Hill and Lauren Knott.

The Polishers are Tyler Jones, Joey Weichbrodt and Jon Marc Pinkerton.

The Manicurists are Hayley Murry, Leila Eskandarian, Abby Burlison and Sydni Skinner.

The Winkies are Jon Marc Pinkerton and Ethan McNully. Winkie General is Joey Weichbrodt, Nikko is played by Tyler Jones.

The Jitterbug Dancers are Avery Goff and Kaeli Woechan.

Musical directors are Sam Stroud and Cindy Joslin. Chorographer is Chloe Cox. Technical director is Dianne Ingle. Sound is Chuck Ward. Scene design and lights by Rick Chudomelka. Make up by Stefanie Harris and Kristian Brown. Spotlight by Alyssa Gordon.

Publicity and program design by Torrey McNully.

Stage manager is Nick Weichbrodt. Tech crew are Alyssa Gordon, Chelle Deaton, Faith Facsett, Emily Dobbs, Rachel Patrom, Kristian Brown, Lucas Diffy, Natalie Childress, Emily Stroud and Jason McCoy.

SPORTS STORY >> Chiefs’ TE charged with possession

Leader sports editor

Demetrius Harris was arrested Tuesday evening on suspicion of felony possession of marijuana. Harris, a Jacksonville graduate and tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs, was the passenger in a vehicle that was stopped by Missouri Highway Patrol in Bates County, about an hour south of Kansas City.

The driver of the vehicle apparently was not arrested. The Missouri State Highway Patrol website shows no other arrests in Bates County on March 7.

The exact amount of marijuana allegedly in Harris’ possession was not released, but a felony amount in the state of Missouri is 35 grams, or 1.25 ounces.

Missouri still has some of the strictest marijuana possession laws in the nation. Some states have recently increased felony possession limits. Marijuana is legal in eight states, and 12 states have no felony possession limit. Only seven states have a lower felony possession limit than Missouri.

Voters in Arkansas made marijuana legal for medical purposes last November.

In the NFL, discipline procedures for players caught with marijuana or failing a drug test for marijuana use are less strict than violations for other drugs.

Clause 1.5.2 states that two offenses are allowed before suspensions are leveled in cases involving marijuana. Fines and other punishments are less steep for initial offenses.

In the state of Missouri, however, possession of 35 grams or more is a class D, and has often been charged as intent to distribute, and can be punishable by up to seven years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.

In Arkansas, four ounces (113 grams) is a felony amount of marijuana. Anything less is a misdemeanor.

Harris has remained active in his local community since joining the Chiefs in 2013. He sponsors youth basketball teams and participates as a volunteer coach in the Iron Sharpens Iron football and cheer camp each year that benefits the Jacksonville Boys and Girls Club.

Harris’ road to the NFL was a unique one. He did not play football in college, but was signed by the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent after finishing his senior basketball season at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

SPORTS STORY >> Hillside ladies finish third at Benton relays

Leader sports editor

The Lady Bear track team has high expectations this outdoor season, and got it off to a good start Thursday in the Benton-McCauley Relays at Benton High School.

Sylvan Hills finished third overall behind Class 7A Bryant and 6A Texarkana, and was the smallest school in the top five. Class 6A schools Lake Hamilton and Sheridan rounded out the Top-5 in the 13-team competition.

Bryant finished with 114 points, while Texarkana barely edged out Sylvan Hills for second place, beating the Lady Bears by a half point – 96 to 95.5. LHHS scored 79.5 and Sheridan 77.5.

Sylvan Hills girls’ coach Grover Garrison was pleased with his team’s overall performance, but didn’t go all out in trying to maximize team points.

“For the most part, we used it as a pretty good opportunity for the girls to kind of stretch their legs a little bit,” Garrison said. “We were trying to pre-qualify for state in a few things and we were able to do that. So overall it was a good meet.”

The Sylvan Hills relay teams won two of the three relays and finished second in the third. The 4x100 and 4x800 team took first place. The 4x400 team finished second, but did run a state qualifying time, as did the 4x100 team.

Ashley Jefferson, Allysia Marbley, Erykah Sanders and Dallyn Stubbs won the 4x800 race. They beat Bryant by more than five seconds with a time of 10:46.21.

In the 4x100, O’Shayla Muldrow, Ayana Harris, Aliya Hatton and Mia Heard nudged Texarkana by .37 seconds with a time of 49.83. Though good enough for first place and to pre-qualify for state, Garrison wasn’t entirely pleased with the time.

“We had three horrible hand-offs and still won,” Garrison said. “So I’m not going to complain too much right now, but we can definitely run that event faster.”

The 4x400 team that finished second included Jefferson, Muldrow, Jordan Sanders and Stubbs.

Sylvan Hills only scored two points total in the three distance races, but that was mainly because Garrison did not make those events a priority in the first meet of the season. Despite winning the 4x800 relay, Sylvan Hills did not enter anyone in the 800-meter race.

Mia Heard qualified for the state meet in the triple jump with a leap of 35-feet, 7-inches. She finished second to Asia Anderson of Pulaski Robinson by five inches. Makayla Smith took third in that event with a distance of 33-11.

Heard placed third in the long jump behind Monticello’s Nia Fillmore and Anderson. Lady Bears Alexis Lee and Jordan Sanders placed fifth and eighth in that event, bring ing Sylvan Hills’ total points in the long jump to 11.

Heard also took third in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.91, and was fifth in the 200-meter dash. Muldrow and Harris finished seventh and eighth in the 200.

Jordan Sanders finished second in the 400-meter race behind Bryant’s Jadyn Lewis. Lee finished eighth in that event.

The Lady Bears placed two runners in the grueling 300-meter hurdles. Smith finished third with a time of 50.17 and Erykah Sanders took fifth with a 50.67.

Daviunia Jones and Dasia Harris finished sixth and eighth respectively in the high jump, each clearing 4-8. Jayla Bell finished sixth in the shot put and seventh in the discus, and Marbley finished seventh in the 3,200-meter race.

Sylvan Hills will be in the Bryant relays on Tuesday, then on to Morrilton next Thursday.

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot second at Searcy

Leader sports editor

The Cabot Panthers’ boys’ track team earned a second-place finish in the Searcy Lion Relays on Thursday at Lion Stadium. Conway won the nine-team competition with 128 points while Cabot finished with 99. Russellville was third with 76.5 and Vilonia finished fourth 69.5.

Heber Springs and Jonesboro finished with 69 and 64 points respectively. Marion had 41, Beebe 24 and the host team finished last with nine total points.

In the girls’ competition, Cabot finished fifth and Beebe seventh. Conway dominated with 195 points to beat second-place Vilonia’s 117.5 by a wide margin. Russellville had 110 points and Jonesboro was a distant fourth with 58.5. Cabot had 45 points, Heber Springs 42, Beebe 18, Searcy 11 and Marion only two points.

The Panthers only won two events. Matt Stanley took first place in the high jump with a leap of 6-feet, 3-inches. He beat Jonesboro’s Jakaylen Jackson by two inches, and they were the only two competitors to clear six feet. Beebe’s K.J. O’Neill finished fifth.

The Panthers also won the 4x400-meter relay with a time of 3:37.50. The team of Trey Tonnessen, Austin Swackhammer, Brandon Whitley and Lyndon Nichols beat Conway by 1.61 seconds. Beebe finished sixth in the event.

Whitley took second in the triple jump and sixth in the long jump. Braxton Burton was second for the Panthers in the pole vault, clearing 12-feet. Vilonia’s Thomas Hutchison won with a 13-5. Beebe’s Isiah Hutson finished fifth at 10-6.

In the sprints, defending state champion Britton Alley finished second in the 200-meter dash. Alley is coming off an injury suffered in the state indoor meet in late January.

Conley Hillegas took second for the Panthers in the 400-meter dash, while Nichols was fifth and Beebe sophomore Taylor Boyce finished eighth.

The Panthers finished second in the 4x800 relay, finishing seven seconds behind Conway. Greyson Kaufman, Gardner Howze, Aiden Treherne and Stuart Nickell finished in 8:33.55. Beebe’s team of Logan Archer, Colin Brock, Gus McCoy and Dylan Owens was fourth in that event.

Howze and Treherne finished third and fourth in the 800-meter race, while Brock was seventh for Beebe.

Archer finished third in the 300-meter hurdles for the Badgers, while Cabot’s Connor Daigle and Tyler George were sixth and seventh in that event.

Chris Boles and George finished seventh and eighth respectively in the 110-meter hurdles.

Whitley and Alex Roberts were fourth and fifth in the 100-meter dash.

Nickell finished fourth in the 1,600 while Blake Scott took the same position in the 3,200. Beebe’s Gus McCoy was fifth in the 3,200 and Howze finished seventh in the 1,600-meter race.

In the girls’ competition, Cabot junior Casey Gore won the 1,600-meter race with a time of 5:33.99. She beat Conway’s Lauren Campbell by 8.57 seconds. Brayden Geisler added four more points for Cabot in that event by finishing fifth.

Gore and Geisler also helped Cabot win the 4x800 by a wide margin with a time of 10:20.25. Geisler, Lauren Turner, Gore and Hadley Dickinson finished almost 15 seconds ahead of Conway’s second-place team.

Turner and Tristyn Edgar finished third and fourth respectively in the 200-meter dash.

Shannon Gardner took fifth in the 800 for Cabot, and Erin Bowie finished sixth in the 3,200.

Marianna Richey had Beebe’s highest individual finish, taking second in the long jump with a leap of 14-9 3/4. Annmarie Covington finished fourth for the Lady Badgers in the 400-meter dash.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Bears win softball tourney in Sherwood

Leader sports editor

The Lady Bear softball team had a rocky start to the season, but bounced back for four-straight victories to win the Taylor Roark Memorial it hosted over the weekend.

The Lady Bears lost their first two games to Morrilton and Cabot on Monday and Thursday of last week. But that began to turn around with a 24-0 victory over Forrest City on Friday in the first round of pool play in the tournament.

The Lady Mustangs only committed one error, but 16 base hits combined with nine walks led to the one-sided final score.

“We didn’t start very well, but we got a little confidence against Forrest City,” said Sylvan Hills coach Mark Anderson. “Forrest City isn’t very good, but the big thing is you could tell we gained some confidence. We just sort of took off from there and played really well the rest of the tournament.”

Mackenzie Rodgers, Storm Ellis and Destiny Sanders each had two hits and three RBIs. Lynlee Broadway threw all three innings of the mercy rule win, giving up no hits or walks while striking out six of the nine batters she faced.

Sanders, a freshman pitcher, took the mound against Searcy and threw a five-inning no-hitter in the timed game that ended 3-0. She also fanned six while walking one Lady Lion.

Sylvan Hills’ leadoff hitter Cara Pozza, and nine-hole hitter Tristen Goodson, had two hits apiece while Joy Franco went 1 for 2 and drove in a run.

In the semifinals, the Lady Bears and the Heber Springs Panthers each got seven base hits, but Sylvan Hills pulled out the 3-1 victory despite committing three errors.

The Lady Bears got all the runs they needed in the bottom of the first inning. Pozza drew a leadoff walk and Rodgers doubled to center field. Ellis flew out to right, deep enough to score Pozza from third base. Franco then grounded to second to score Rodgers and give her team a 2-0 lead.

Broadway hit a leadoff single in the bottom of the second and was replaced on the base paths by courtesy runner Maddie Hogue. Two batters later, Hogue scored on a single by Brittanie Stricklin for a 3-0 lead.

Heber Springs got two runners in scoring position on a double and an error in the top of the third, but Pozza picked off the base runner at third to end the inning.

The Lady Panthers got its lone run in the top of the fourth on a single, a double, a walk and a bases-loaded error with two outs.

Broadway got the win with 4 2/3s innings of work, while Sanders got the save.

The Lady Bears then beat Maumelle 5-1 for the tournament championship.

Sanders threw all seven innings of that game, giving up five hits and no earned runs while striking out seven and walking zero.

Maumelle opened the scoring with a single run in the top of the first. R. Pierce hit a leadoff single and moved to second on a sacrifice. After a strikeout, Pierce moved to third base on a wild pitch by Sanders, and then scored on a dropped third strike passed ball.

Sylvan Hills wasn’t behind for long. Rodgers and Ellis hit back-to-back one-out singles in the bottom of the first and moved up a base each on a wild pitch. Sanders then singled to center field to score both runners and give SH the lead for good.

Sanders drove in Ellis again in the third inning. Franco singled to score Rogers in the fifth, and Sanders got her fourth RBI on the next at-bat to set the final margin.

Sylvan Hills got back to action in the Rivalry Classic at UCA against North Little Rock. They were up 6-2 before a disastrous inning led to a 12-6 loss on Monday.

“We hit the ball pretty well, we just didn’t play any defense,” Anderson said of the loss. “We threw both pitchers, but it didn’t matter who I put up there. We didn’t play any defense behind them. It was on that turf and it got wet. They just adjusted to it better than we did. We never got used to it.”

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

TOP STORY >> Governor tells chamber he’s upbeat on jobs

By RICK KRON Leader staff writer

Gov. Asa Hutchinson, the keynote speaker at the annual Sherwood chamber dinner Monday night, espoused the power of local leaders.

“Sen. Jane English (who represents Sherwood) came to me earlier today with a bill and said that it was good for Sherwood and to sign it. So, I did,” the governor said.

If voters approve, establishments in Sherwood and Jacksonville will be able to serve alcohol by the drink without having to go through the year-long process of forming a private club charter.

The crux behind that bill is economic growth and that was the foundation of the governor’s speech Monday.

Hutchinson said he made campaign promises to bring jobs to Arkansas. “So how’s that working out, you ask? To date we’ve brought in 55,000 new jobs, and reduced unemployment to 3.9 percent … as close to a record as possible. For 16 months in a row now we’ve been under the national average.”

He added that as more people have entered the workforce or moved up to better jobs, the number of Arkansas receiving SNAP benefits has dropped by 50,000.

He credited state legislators who help create a good climate for growth that allows entrepreneurs to take a risk.

The governor told the record chamber crowd of 300 at Sherwood Forest that Arkansas is in the global marketplace and “that’s why I’ve taken trips to Cuba, Europe and China. Why Cuba? To open markets for our rice and poultry. In Europe, I attended the steel show in Germany and the air show in Paris to push Arkansas.”

The governor said he made a promise to call six different CEO’s on his first day in office and tell them why they should be doing business in Arkansas. “Talk about cold sales calls. One of the company CEOs I called only spoke Japanese. That call didn’t go so well.”

But he said one of his six calls was to SIG Sauer. “A New Hampshire firearms company. I told them they needed to get out of the cold and come to a very friendly Second Amendment state. A year later the announcement was made that SIG Sauer was going to open a plant in Jacksonville.

“It is better for the economy to grow our private sector more than the government sector. It puts more money into people’s pockets,” the governor explained.

He said his administration had lowered taxes by $150 million so far, “but we’ve got to do more.”

The governor said he even had a chance last week to discuss his global economy philosophy with President Trump at the White House.

“I was seated about six feet away from him and told him to be careful with tariffs or restrictions that would hurt Arkansas. Then I had a chance to brag about our different industries,” the governor said.

Trump’s reply?

“He told me, ‘Asa, don’t worry about it. I’ve got this covered I’m a negotiator.’ I loved his confidence and enthusiasm, but Mr. President, I will continue to worry about it.”

Hutchinson took time to praise the veterans and the air base.

“You have always supported Little Rock Air Force Base, but there was nothing statewide. In September 2015, I formed the Governor’s Military Affairs Committee and put in $400,000 for an economic study to make sure we knew the commitment and impact of our military installations,” he said.

“A strong Little Rock Air Force Base is good for the nation, for the state and for the local area, including Sherwood,” Hutchinson said.

The governor said with a booming steel industry in Mississippi County, the state is now one of the top steel producers in the country.

At the Paris Air Show, he pushed the state burgeoning aero-defense industry, including Falcon Jet and Sherwood’s GSI, a producer of cabinets for Falcon Jet.

In his two China visits, he was able to convince a garment company to return to Arkansas. “That’s 400 new jobs for us,” the governor said.

Other programs initiated during the governor’s term which he believes will be a boost to the economy is the tax exemption for military retirees.

“It’s good for the economy. Many of the retirees we are losing will come back, get jobs or start businesses, support schools and help communities grow,” Hutchinson said.

He said he was proud of the AR Grant program, which will cover tuition, fees and other student expense for young people wanting to go to a two-year institution and focus in an area of high needs such as welding.

“The schools provide mentors to help the students and when he or she graduates they promise to work here in Arkansas for at least three years. It’s a good program,” he said.

He took time to praise Sherwood as a wonderful community, a wonderful place to live with great leadership and a great chamber.

TOP STORY >> ‘Guys and Dolls’ this weekend

By JEFFREY SMITH  Leader staff writer

Jacksonville High’s Titan Theater Company will perform the musical “Guys and Dolls” this weekend. Shows are set for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Sandy Reed Auditorium at the middle school, 718 Harris Road. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students.

Frank Loesser’s Broadway musical “Guys and Dolls” is a romantic comedy set in 1930s New York City. It is a tale of gamblers, showgirls and gangsters, based on the story and characters of Damon Runyon, an American newspaperman and short story writer. His stories celebrated the world of Broadway.

The cast includes Isaac Whitney as Nicely Nicely Johnson, Calvin Hayes as Benny Southstreet, Justin Pike as Nathan Detroit, Deshaun Thomas as Rusty Charlie, Kendrick Rhynes as Harry The Horse, Hunter Brockinton as Lt. Brannigan, Keith Skrdlant as Angie the Ox, Mallory Harness as Mimi, Maegan Dement as Gen. Matilda Cartwright, Justin Waters as Big Jule, Julia Releford as Franny the Fruit Lady, Yuseff Taylor as Danny the news vendor, Kayley Shettles as Sarah Brown, Jeriah Brumfield as Aunt Arvide Abernathy, Danielle Carney as Miss Adelaide, Valentino Warren as Sky Masterson, Amanda Crews as Havana Seductress and the Hot Box emcees are Matthew Veasley and Marcus Casey.

The gamblers are Jaylon Hall as Little Paulie, Tevin Tucker as Flak, Marcus Casey as Montana Six, Myles Mason as Rocky, Matthew Veasley as Ace and Eric Wilson as Amarillo Slim.

Hot Box girls are Kezia Warren as Babs, Kim Shipman as LuLu, Kara Hutchinson as Dibby, Amanda Crews as Wafer, Mallory Harness as Mimi and Lindsey Martin as Glitzy.

Save a Soul missionaries are Jade Pye as Lucy, Kennedy Morris as Irene, Sierra Parker as Ruth and Yuseff Taylor as Oliver.

Havana Cuba Revelers are Kara Hutchinson as Rasha, Tevin Tucker as Loco, Mallory Harness as Pueto, Jaylon Hall as Pallada, Lindsey Martin as Raquel, Matthew Veasley as Ridel, Marcus Casey as Ever and Julia Releford as Louisa.

“Guys and Dolls” is directed by Jane Balgavy, assistant director Michelle Young, vocal coach Chris Cross, choreographer Larrissa Garvin, student director Chyna Loftis, student technical director Justin Waters, stage managers Trenten Palsa and Chyna Loftis, running crew chief Candace Varhalla, crew members John McCann and Damein Wright, production assistant Declan Williams, lighting chief Kevin Hinesly, spotlight Quincy Trotter, sound chief Daniel Terry sound crew Taylor Toombs, chief costumer Sabrena Kertz, costume dresser Lynzie VanBrocklin, chief makeup Brooklyn Snead, paint crew Pris Benson, Ahna Davis and Mandy Green.

TOP STORY >> ‘Legally Blonde’ this weekend at CHS

By JEFFREY SMITH Leader staff writer

Cabot High School is presenting the musical “Legally Blonde” at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $7 at the Cabot High Theater.

The musical is based on the movie. Elle Woods’ life is turned upside down when her boyfriend dumps her so he can get serious with life and attend Harvard Law School. Woods tries to win him back.

She uses her charm to get into Harvard Law School, overcomes struggles, discovers her potential and sets out to prove herself to the world.

The cast includes Kaylie Tuttle and Greer King as Elle Woods, Jordan Pogue as Emmett Forrester, Skyler Ward as Paulette Bonafonte, Brittin Sullivan as Warner Huntington, Avery Bruce as Brooke Wyndham, Sam Gibson as Professor Callahan, Elizabeth Ring as Vivienne Kensington, Brooklyn Jennings as Margot, Natalie Way as Serena, Sarah Mitchell and Kelsey Drees as Pilar, Nicole Vincent as Kate, Bailey Weathers as Gaelen, Rainey Ross as Tiffany, Mikee Olegario as Courtney, Payton King as Sandi, Lizzie Schaefer as Angel, Lauren Black as Enid.

David Nichols as Mr. Woods, Emily Freeman as Mrs. Woods, Bethie Butera as Chutney Wyndham, Harris Sutton as Kyle, Lane Burch-field as Winthrop, Autumne Kendricks as Judge, D.J. Boswell as Grandmaster Chad.

Easton Seidl and Dylan Smith as Dewey, Hope Henry as Whitney, Allyson Chandler as dress store manager, Caleigh Pickard and Ambrynne Ward as Kiki the colorist, Allison Snodgrass and Emma Carpenter as Padamadan, Spencer Thompson as Aaron, Austin Morse as Frat Tony, Cody Nabors as Frat Marcus, Seth Carter as Frat Vince.

Wyatt McMahan as Jet Blue pilot, Dylan Shumate as Lowell, Justin Ballard as Pforzheimer, Kaitlyn Follet as Salon Cat Lady, Alivia Butler as Oak Valley salesgirl, Klara McElroy as Harvard Feminist Society president, Lauren Devlin as TV Reporter 1, Morrigane Jones as TV Reporter 2, Autumn Klein as Dana prison inmate, Olivia Gardner as Courtroom Stenographer, Haley Cohea, Dana Sackwar and Tayler Stewart as salesgirls.

Spencer Snow as the Bailiff, Luke Falcinelli as the prison guard, David Nichols as Emmett Understudy, D.J. Boswell as Warner Understudy and Harris Sutton as Callahan Understudy.

Omigosh You Guys Delta Nu Sisters are Madi Schumacher, Autumn Klein, Carly Jones, Anna Sinclair, Braylin Powers, Gracie Morris, Amber Thomas, Gabbie Ware, Caroline Latture and Haley Cohea.

Finale of Omigosh, Daughters of Delta Nu Sorority Sisters are Dana Sackwar, Ashley Osburn, Jordan Spinks, Lauren Ballard, Kaycie Merrill, Madison Ransom, Karaline Fought, Mollie Jarnagin, Abigail Gaddis, Elizabeth Peebles, Halee Sanders, Hannah Scogin, Averie Jensen, Morgan Logue, Kaelyn Parker, Cambrie Wade, Ginaley Rogers, Alivia Butler, Haley Morris, Cheyenne Cozad, Jayden Shelton, Ashlee Hankins, Ashley Reider, Haley Cohea, Savannah Miller, Morrigane Jones, Carly Woods, Chandler Smith, Tayler Steward and Gracie Cox.

“What You Want” dance teams are Gracie Morris, Hannah Jones, Ashley Osburn, Carley Jones, Madi Schumacher, Mollie Jarnagin, Kesley Dress, Sarah Mitchell, Payton King, Lizzie Schaefer and Pamela Powell. Vocalists are Natalie Way, Rainey Ross, Nicole Vincent and Mikee Olegario.

“What You Want” cheer squad are Autumn Klein, Savannah Miller, Karaline Faught, Chandler Smith, Haley Morris and Brooklyn Jennings.

“Positive” Delta Nu featured dancers are Autumn Klein, Bailey Weathers, Mollie Jarnagin, Gracie Morris, Pamela Powell, Madison Schumacher and Maddie Coffer.

UCLA spring break frat boys are Austin Morse, Cody Nabors, Easton Seidl, Dylan Smith, C.J. Long, Justin Nabors, Wyatt McMahan Jarrod Barnes, Evan Hooper, Kale Eddington, Ryan Travis, Noah Sorrell, Landon Hagar, Conley Hillegas, Evan Hooper Luke Falcinelli and Ayden Shirley.

Harvard students and party-goers are Trinity Mize, Lauren Devlin, Allyson Chandler, D.J. Boswell, Meghan Hauritz, Nina Kramer, Emma Carpenter, Alex Bowles, Alexis Baker, Spencer Snow, Dylan Handy, Concera Davis, Kaitlyn Follett, Haleigh Geheb and Olivia Gardner.

UCLA spring break sorority girls are Alivia Butler, Cambrie Wade, Kaelyn Parker, Gracie Cox, Mallory Kinsey, Morgan Logue, Ginaley Rogers and Avery Jensen.

Bend and Snap Laker Girls are Abigail Gaddis, Hannah Jones, Pam Powell, Jayde Shelton, Ashley Reider, Carly Woods, Cheyenne Cozad, Caroline Latture, Anna Sinclair, Gabbie Ware, Carley Jones, Amber Thomas Ashlee Hankins and Madi Schumacher.

Whipped Into Shape Workout Girls are Kelsey Drees Featured Male Dancer Austin Morse, Sarah Mitchell, Lauren Ballard, Bailey Weathers, Ashley Osburn, Rainey Ross, Brooklyn Jennings, Payton King, Lizzie Schaefer, Haley Morris, Kelsey Ivory, Autumn Klein, Pamela Powell and Mollie Jarnagin.

Prosecution Team are Cadie Bailey, Ayden Shurley and Mallory Kinsley.

Jurors are Mackenzie Runsick, C.J. Long, Justin Nabors, Carter Reaves, Cerron Davis, Emily Tripp, Mckenzie King and Jerry Matella.

Restaurant Patrons are Justin Nabors, Madison Ransom, Ayden Shurley, Kaycie Merrell, Halee Sanders, McKenzie Runsick and Emily Trip.

Take It Like a Man salespeople are Hannah Scogin and Elizabeth Peebles. Shoppers are Noah Sorrell and Kale Eddington.

Courtroom Trial Observers are David Nichols, Emily Freeman, Harris Sutton, C.J. Long, Madison Ransom, Kaycie Merrell, Justin Nabors, Cambrie Wade, Alivia Butler, Ashlee Hankins, Braylin Powers, Halee Sanders, Conley Hillegas, Landon Hagar and Jordan Spinks.

Legally Blonde Remix Irish Dancers are Mollie Jarnagin, Gracie Morris, Cheyenne Cozad, Carly Woods, Maddie Coffer, Caleigh Pickard and Pamela Powell.

Stage Managers are Seth Trostel, Ashley Glover and Courtney Thompson

Costume student directors are Mckenzie Cummings and Dallas Gibson

Costume Crew Co-Heads are McCall Mayhair and Chloe Dailey

Costume crew members include Carly Rogers, Trinity Ogelvie, Concera Davis, Rachel Provose, Cescily Pojar, Brianna Evans, Mia Hamp, Hannah Hoover, Cadie Bailey, Hannah Grove and Olivia Wheeler.

Running crew heads are Nikki Stricklin and Joseph Martin.

Crew are Baylee Beavers, Sam Robertson, Brianna Evans, Asher Hargrove, Shannah Gardner, Madison Taylor, Makiya Davis, Haylee Kilgore, Joey Taylor, Jake Bemis, Cerron Davis, Olivia Henderson, Garrett Yovanovich, Alexsis Byrd and Carter Reaves.

Props crew heads are Lizzie Ray and Hailey Vidimos.

Props are by Mary Lilly, Ivy Westmoreland and Alexsis Byrd.

Light crew head is Christie Waterman.

Lighting by Alex Calhoun and Collin Messec.

Sound crew head are Robert Kingston, Lights: Peyton Burkett, Kris Belknap, Justin Evans and Kylie Ogden.

Director and choreographer is Ashley Tarvin. Technical director is Deanna Carpenter.

Sound and light engineer is Logan Smith.

Assistant director is Ben Brockinton.

Theater consultant is Gwen Brooks, and student directors are Caleigh Pickard and Madison Coffer.

SPORTS STORY >> Strong runs from local basketball teams

By RAY BENTON Leader sports editor

No local teams will be playing in high school basketball’s state championship weekend in Hot Springs this week, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t some stellar accomplishments.

The two Leader coverage area teams that made it the farthest, needing just one more win to get in their respective title games, had to beat a lot of odds just to get that far.

Jacksonville Lighthouse Charter and Sylvan Hills boys each played in the semifinals of their state tournaments, and both were long shots to even get there.

The Lighthouse Wolves were particularly special in light of the fact this is JLC’s very first year as a recognized sports program by the Arkansas High School Actitivies Association.

The Wolves went 27-7 before losing to state powerhouse Earle 82-62 in Saturday’s semifinals in Quitman. With four seniors among the top eight players, JLC coach Kelvin Parker couldn’t be more proud of the leadership of those players.

“It’s our first year to even be eligible to play in a state tournament,” said Parker. “These guys have never been on a big stage like this. They wanted to win it all, but these seniors did a great job of leading this team – not being overwhelmed by the moment. They’re good young men.”

The Sylvan Hills boys carried a four seed into the Class 5A state tournament in Magnolia after finishing fourth in the 5A-Central district tournament. Bear coach Kevin Davis has said all year that the 5A-Central is the best league to be in for preparation for state.

“Night in and night out you’re playing against some of the top teams, some of the best coaches and a bunch of Division I ball players,” Davis said at the beginning of the season.

In the past two years, the Bears have failed to make the state tournament from the Central Conference, despite having wins over several qualifiers from other leagues, including league champions.

Sylvan Hills went into this year’s first-round game against 5A-South champion Hope supremely confident, and dominated the second half to win 66-49.

When Morrilton beat Blytheville in the first round, the Bears knew they had a good shot at making the semifinals. They had beaten Morrilton 63-57 early in the season, and they did it again, 52-43, on Friday afternoon in Magnolia.

That set up a semifinal rematch with Parkview, who had scarcely broken a sweat in its first two tournament games. The Patriots, with their three Division I players, including two future Razorbacks, were again too much for Sylvan Hills, winning 74-51.

It was the third time Parkview had beat Sylvan Hills this season. The semifinals included three teams from the 5A-Central, and the finals will be a rematch of the 5A-Central district championship game between Parkview and Mills, which Parkview won 57-55 a week earlier in Maumelle.


The most touching moment of the tournament was in the postgame press conference after Cabot’s bid to repeat as 7A boys champion fell short in the quarterfinals. An emotional Jerry Bridges apologized for “being so down,” and repeated “God’s been too good to me for me to be like this.”

But Bridges was emotional over the seniors that have helped him build the CHS program. Point guard Bobby Joe Duncan has been a three-year starter. Jarrod Barnes and Logan Gilbertson have been key players since their sophomore seasons, and have started the last two. Matt Stanley transferred in his junior year, and added a dimension to the team it would not have won a state title last year without. Parker Childress didn’t play as much as the others, but also drew praise from Bridges.

“He’s a heck of a young man and a team player. Teams need guys like him out there to see what dedication looks like.

“I love my seniors,” Bridges said. “They made me look good. I got back in this (to coaching) hoping for a chance for another state title, and people thought I was crazy coming to Cabot. But these guys made me look good.”


All four of the local girls’ teams lost in the first round of their respective tournaments, but a closer look at a couple of those teams is reason to be optimitic for next season. Two teams, Lonoke and Sylvan Hills, had no seniors in their starting lineups, and both showed signs they can be teams to reckon with next year, especially Lonoke.

The Lady Jackrabbits’ last two losses were to the two teams that are playing later this week in the Class 4A state championship game, and both losses were down to the wire.

The odds on favorite to win the girls championship was CAC, who boasts one of the top recruits in the nation in Christyn Williams. She was injured in regionals and CAC lost three straight after that. But while she was playing, Lonoke took them to overtime twice before losing each time.

Look for the Lady Jackrabbits to be in serious contention next season.

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Titan softball off to decent beginning

By RAY BENTON Leader sports editor

The Jacksonville Lady Titan softball team is trying to replace several key players, including both starting pitchers from last year’s conference champion and state semifinal team. Also gone from a year ago are three quarters of the infield, including an All-State, college-signee at shortstop, and a starting outfielder and leadoff hitter.

Making the 2017 opening week even more difficult, the new starting pitcher, Lindsey Holt, has an injury that limits her to throwing basically nothing but fastballs.

Jacksonville is off to a 2-3 start, with wins over Forrest City and Baptist Prep, and losses to Morrilton, Lake Hamilton and Searcy.

“We’ll get better,” said Jacksonville coach Hank Hawk. “We just have to believe in ourselves and get healthy.”

One bright spot so far has been the defense in the outfield, where Hawk starts three ninth graders.

“That was obviously a question mark coming into the season, but they’ve played pretty well out there so far,” said Hawk.

One position the Titans have no concerns with is at back catcher, where senior Allison Seats returns as an All-State player.

“She’s the best catcher in the state as far as I’m concerned,” Hawk said. “She can come out and play some shortstop for us, too if we need her to. We just have to get someone ready to take her spot behind the plate. She’s an incredible player.”

The Lady Titans opened the season with a 6-5 loss to Morrilton last Tuesday. Morrilton had beaten Sylvan Hills 18-14 the day before. Sylvan Hills is one of the favorites to win the 5A/6A Central, so Hawk was glad to see his squad competitive with a common opponent.

Last Thursday the Lady Titans beat Baptist Prep 8-7, but A hampered pitcher and an inexperienced infield made that game closer than it should’ve been.

“We had some errors that cost us three or four runs easily,” Hawk said. “And with Lindsey restricted to throwing fastballs, it hurts us right now. Moving the ball around in the zone is going to be her strength and she couldn’t really do that last week.”

Jacksonville played in the Taylor Roark Memorial tournament at Sylvan Hills last weekend and lost its first two games 8-2 to LHHS and 9-2 to Searcy.

In the consolation bracket, the Titans hammered Forrest City 14-1.

SPORTS STORY >> Panthers win fifth straight at Ozarks

By RAY BENTONLeader sports editor 

A seven-run second inning was all the Cabot baseball team needed, but it kept going anyway, hammering Bentonville 13-3 at the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville on Monday.

It was Cabot’s fifth-straight win after a season-opening loss, and runs the Panther’s record to 5-1.

The Tigers were playing their first game of the season, but Cabot coach Ronnie Goodwin believes beating Bentonville is always a good thing.

“They’ve kind of created a monster with that program,” said Goodwin. “Anytime you beat Bentonville it’s a pretty good win. Now are they what they were last year, probably not. They had three Division I pitchers. But they have one of the best coaches in the state and a great program. So it’s always a quality win against a team like that.”

The Panthers belted 10 base hits. Four went for extra bases including home runs by Logan Edmondson and Clayton Gray. Zach Morris threw the first five innings, giving up just four hits while striking out three and walking two. Brodey Schluter threw two innings of relief, giving up two hits while striking out four and walking no one.

Both teams went down in order in the first inning, but Cabot’s big second started with two walks by Dillon Thomas and Houston King. Edmondson sacrificed to move the runners up, and Caleb Harpole singled to score Thomas from third.

Connor Linton took a pitch off the body to load the bases. Kyler Franks then hit a line drive to left that scored Harpole and Linton and gave Cabot a 3-0 lead.

Bentonville tried and failed to get the lead runner on Blake McCutchen’s infield grounder, leaving everyone safe and the bases loaded. Clayton Gray then hit a sacrifice grounder that scored Linton and left Franks and McCutchen safe in scoring position.

Denver Mullins then walked, bringing Thomas back to the plate. The cleanup hitter drove a line drive, bases-clearing double to the wall in center field to put the Panthers on top 7-0.

Bentonville got one back in the bottom of the third, but Cabot added a run in the fourth on hits by McCutchen and then Mullins. Edmondson hit his two-run home run in the top of the fifth inning after King’s leadoff single to give the Panthers a 10-1 lead.

The Tigers made it 10-2 in the bottom of the fifth, but Cabot again answered right away. King hit a two-out double in the top of the sixth, and scored on an error on a line drive by Edmondson.

In the top of the seventh, McCutchen reached on an error before Gray drove one out in right field to put Cabot up 13-2.

Bentonville got a double and a single to start the bottom of the seventh, but Schluter regrouped. He got the third hitter to pop up to second base, and then struck out the next two batters to seal the win.

That victory came on the heels of Cabot winning its own season-opening tournament on Saturday. The Panthers opened pool play and the regular season last Monday with a 7-4 loss to Searcy, but bounced back with wins over Lonoke, Maumelle and Russellville to earn a rematch with the Lions in the championship game.

This time Michael Shepherd and Logan Gilbertson combined to shut out the Lions in a 7-0 victory.

Shepherd threw 5 2/3 innings, giving up just two hits while striking out seven and walking zero.

Gilbertson finished it with no hits, no walks and one strikeout.

Thomas again came through in the cleanup slot. He went 3 for 4 with a pair of doubles. Gray went 2 for 3 with two RBIs and scored two runs. Linton went 3 for 4 and scored three times.

The five-straight wins have come in spite of Cabot starting its season without four projected starters. Razorback signee Evan Hooper and projected cleanup hitter Eric Larsen have been injured.

Gilbertson and starting second baseman Bobby Joe Duncan have been in basketball. Gilbertson, a 6-foot-6 RHP and UCA signee, saw his first action against Searcy in the tournament final.

Duncan is also out with a fractured wrist suffered late in the basketball season. Goodwin has been very pleased with other players stepping up.

“We’re looking at early to mid April at getting those guys back,” Goodwin said. “But I’m very excited about the guys that have stepped in and produced. Guys have really been playing well. We talk about it all the time. You have to have at least two of the three phases of the game show up every night. We’ve been pretty good at that so far. More importantly, we’ve been able to get a lot of guys out there to see who the guys are going to be once we get to conference play. This is a really, really tough league.”