Leader Blues

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

SPORTS>>Cabot beats Lady Wildcats

By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

The Cabot Lady Panthers took a big conference win Friday night, beating the North Little Rock Charging Lady Wildcats 5-4 at Cabot High School. The win was the league opener for both teams and an early matchup of two of the leading title contenders.

The Lady Wildcats took the lead in the top of the first inning with an unearned run. Leadoff hitter Jennifer Johnson reached on an error. Two batters later Sara Springer singled to left, and an error in left allowed the runners to advance.

The middle innings belonged to Cabot, but North Little Rock charged back in the top of the seventh.

Cabot eight-hole hitter Crystal Cox led off the third with a single to right field and stole second base. She moved to third on a sacrifice grounder by Chelsea Conrade. Leadoff hitter Jamie Sterrenberg then singled to center to score Cox. Haley Dougan sacrificed to short to drive in Conrade and gave the Lady Panthers the lead.

After giving up a leadoff hit to Lady Wildcat Emily Guest and a sacrfice to Sarah Lapp, Cabot sophomore pitcher Cherie’ Barfield struck out the next two batters to pitch out of a minor jam in the top of the fourth.

The Lady Panthers added two more in the bottom of the same inning. Jessica Lanier led off with a double to left, and scored on a double to the same spot by Rachael Lamb. Two batters later, Cox singled again to right field to drive in Lamb and give the Lady Panthers a 4-1 lead.

North Little Rock drew closer with two runs in the sixth. Springer walked and cleanup hitter Farren Wright drove a triple to the wall in right-center to score the first run. Guest then hit a line drive to short, where Sterrenberg made the catch, but then committed an error that allowed Wright to score. Sterrenberg saw that Wright was caught off base after the line drive, and threw to third with no one there to catch the ball.

North Little Rock tied it in the seventh. Johnson tripled to right to lead off the inning,and scored two batters later on a sac grounder by Springer.

Sterrenberg atoned for her earlier mistake by forcing North Little Rock to commit the same one she made. The senior shortstop led off with a single and stole two bases. When she took off for the third base, no one covered, but the catcher made the throw, which sailed into left field and allowed Sterrenberg to trot home for the winning run.

Barfield went the distance for Cabot, giving up three earned runs on six hits while striking out four, walking two and hitting two batters.

Cabot picked up eight hits off two North Little Rock pitchers. Cox picked up three base hits in three at bats, scored a run and drove in another. Sterrenberg to two hits and scored two runs. Lanier and Lamb recorded doubles and Ashton Seidl picked up Cabot’s other base hit of the game.

The win lefted the Lady Panthers to 5-2 overall and 1-0 against 7A-Central competition.