Leader Blues

Monday, July 03, 2006

SPORTS >> Home Depot topples Blue

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

Cabot Home Depot im-proved its overall record to 10-14 on the season with a 9-3 win over Class A Little Rock Blue at the Conrade Sports Complex Thursday night. Home Depot broke away from Blue with a huge offensive stand in the bottom of the second inning, scoring five runs off of five hits. The inning gave Cabot a 6-1 lead, and deflated Blue’s hopes of a road win.
“That was a crazy game,” Cabot coach Andy Runyon said. “I’m proud of my kids, they all did a great job tonight. I think we had four different guys pitching for us tonight, and they all did a good job. We always tell them to jump on our opponents early, and that’s exactly what they did tonight. They scored runs early in the game, and we came away with a six-run win.”
The game was originally scheduled as a twin bill, but a limited number of available pitchers for Little Rock moved the event to one nine-inning game.

The frustration continued to build throughout the game for Blue. A dispute with the field umpire resulted in one of the Little Rock coaches being ejected from the game in the top of the fourth inning. Although Blue managed a couple of runs in the final innings, Home Depot controlled the game from the second inning on for the win.

Blue took the early lead with a single run in the top of the first inning. Cabot was able to answer in the opening frame with a run from Justin Free off a Sam Bates RBI. The score was tied 1-1 after one inning, but the game would no longer be close after the following inning.

Logan Lucas led off for Cabot in the second inning with a walk, and quickly made his way to third courtesy of back-to-back balks from starting Blue pitcher James Morhead. A walk for Tyler Sorrells put runners at first and third. Shane Burgan drove in the first run of the inning with a fielder’s choice to shortstop. Sorrells was out at second, but Lucas scored, and Burgan safely made it to first.

A single to center from Free scored Burgan, followed by a single grounder to left from Colin Fuller that brought in Drew Burks. The biggest RBI of the inning went to Chad Bryant. Bryant drove in two scores with a single to center.

Home Depot was in position to score even more runs in the inning, loading the bases with two outs. Blue relief pitcher Nathan Longinotti finally made a stand at the mound, striking out Sorrells for the final out of the inning.

Cabot came very close to run-ruling Little Rock in the bottom of the fifth inning. A pair of doubles from Drew Burks and Ben Wainwright scored Lucas and then Sorrells.

The second hit from Burks brought in Sorrells for the eighth run of the game. Wainwright followed Sorrells to the plate, but was tagged out by Blue catcher Christian Cooley after a good throw to home from left fielder Brett Golden. Wainwright’s lost run would have given Cabot a 9-1 lead, which would have ended the contest under the 8-after-5 run-rule.

Although Blue dodged a bullet in the fifth, they were not able to make up the lost ground. A double from Golden to score Michael Alexander in the top of the seventh, and a run from Tim Watson in the top of the ninth were the only offense Little Rock could put together during the remainder of the game. Cabot added its final run in the bottom of the seventh inning, with several substitute batters taking turns during the final offensive stands.

Cabot finished the game with nine runs, nine hits and three errors. Little Rock had three runs, five hits and two errors. Sean Clarkson got the win from the mound for Cabot, with Sorrells and Gross also taking turns pitching in the game.

After playing North Little Rock in a doubleheader at Burns Park last night, Cabot will take a few days off before returning to action against Jacksonville at Dupree Park on the 4th of July at 2:30 p.m. in a stand-alone Class AAA American Legion matchup.