SPORTS >> Cabot closes 7-Up Classic with win over Brinkley
Leader sports writer
IN SHORT: The Cabot American Legion team went 1-2 at Paragould’s annual 7-Up baseball tournament.
The Cabot Home Depot Class AAA team lost two out of three games at the 7-Up Classic tournament in Paragould last weekend. Losses in the first two rounds to Benton and Searcy’s B & B Oil AA team put Cabot at a deficit in the tourney, but they closed out bracket play strong on the final day with an 8-1 win over Brinkley.
“We rebounded pretty well on Sunday,” Cabot coach Andy Runyon said. “We were in a position to win two out of the three games. We had some errors that killed us on Friday. Saturday, we just played like a team that was tired and not all there; I think the score reflects that. It was good to see them bounce back on Sunday and respond the way they did; they really played tough against Brinkley. If you take those errors away from the Benton game, we would have had two wins over quality teams for the weekend.”
The overall 1-2 record for the weekend looks worse on paper than it was in actuality. Cabot led Benton through most of Friday’s opener until two late errors from the Home Depot team allowed four runs from the Panthers. The Saturday game against Searcy was played with a skeleton lineup due to basketball camp, with two of its strongest players at a college prospect camp. B & B Oil took advantage of the situation with a 10-1 rout over Cabot.
The Sunday game with Brinkley closed Home Depot out on a strong note for the tourney. The defense turned in its strongest performance in the third-round outing, with starting pitcher Sam Bates going the distance for Cabot.
Bates gave up six hits and two walks to the Brinkley batters in 84 pitches, and allowed no earned runs.
Justin Free gave the strongest offensive performance for Home Depot, going 2 for 3 with a triple and scoring three runs.
Corey Wade led in bases stolen with two, as Cabot racked up seven total team hits and seven walks in the dominating performance.
Colin Fuller had the best single play of the game defensively, snagging a ball barehanded after a rock changed the direction of the Brinkley grounder.
Fuller grabbed the ball with his left hand and made the play to first to get the out and help protect what was then a 5-1 Cabot lead at the time of the play.
“I think that play pretty well took all the wind out of their sails,” Runyon said of Fuller’s amazing play. “As a coach, when you see kids make a play like that against you, you start to get the feeling that maybe things aren’t going to go your way.”
Home Depot took on Sylvan Hills on Tuesday after Leader deadlines, and will host a double- header against Heber Springs on Thursday before traveling to Pine Bluff Sunday.