Leader Blues

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

SPORTS >> Cabot All-Stars headed to world series

IN SHORT: The Panther 10-under team won the Southwest Regional tournament in Crossett and advances to the Cal Ripken nationals in Lafayette, La, this weekend.

By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

The Cabot 10-year-old All-Star team is leaving tomorrow morning for Lafayette, La., to take part in the Cal Ripken World Series after winning its seventh tournament of the year last weekend. The Cabot U-10 All Stars are the first Cabot team to advance to the world series.

Last weekend’s event was the Cal Ripken regional qualifier, which the Cabot team won by beating Plainview, Texas, 5-4 and 5-0 in the championship round.

They will take part in a banquet honoring the teams on Friday night, and opening ceremonies will be Saturday morning.
Cabot begins tournament play at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Cabot is one of 10 teams left throughout the entire country taking part in the national championship tournament. They will compete with other regional tournament winners, including teams from Florida, California, Missouri, Kentucky, New Jersey, Washington and two teams from Louisiana.

“They are a tough group of kids,” Cabot coach Lance Vocque said. “They set a goal in May to get to this point, and they’ve battled all summer long. They really fought hard and I’m proud of them, very proud of them.”

After completing the city league season, the All Star teams were formed and the 10-year-olds embarked on a seven-tournament winning streak that began in Benton.

They went on to win a tournament in Sheridan, the Junior Deputy tournament in Little Rock, their own Cabot Panther Classic, the district tournament in Cabot, the state tournament in Magnolia and the seven-state regional held in Crossett.

After the seven tournaments, the team’s record now sits at 30 wins to just five losses.

Cabot lost 2-1 to Plainview in the third round of the regional, but came out of the losers bracket with a 10-6 win over Batesville to earn a rematch with the Texas state champions.

In the earlier game, Cabot pitcher Riley Knudsen took the loss despite an outstanding effort on the mound. He made the most of his second chance by posting the win in the first game and forcing the “if” game.

In that one, Hayden Vincent took the mound and threw a two-hit shutout.

Cabot’s Tyler Wilkie was named the tournament’s most valuable player. His efforts were highlighted by a two-run home run in the sixth inning of the Batesville game that pulled his team out of a 5-4 deficit and into the lead for good.

The Cabot team finished the three qualifying tournaments, the district, state and regional, with a combined record of 15-2. They lost one game in district and swept through the state tournament undefeated.

A charter bus will pick the team up around 9 a.m. Thursday morning at Cabot High School. Interested fans can follow the tourney at brlworldseries.com.