Leader Blues

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

SPORTS>>Owls succumb to ‘Cats with late mistake

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

Abundant Life held on close for five innings, but a simple fielding error for the Owls in the bottom of the sixth against El Dorado Monday night led to a four-hit, four-run spree for the Wildcats that took a close 1-1 tie through five innings to a cushiony 5-1 advantage that held to become the game’s final margin.

“We had played them a good game up until that point,” Abundant Life coach Wes Johnson said. “We hit some balls right on the nose, they just wouldn’t go down. That error was just costly for us; it had been a good clean game by both teams.”
The error from shortstop to first would have been the third out for the Owls in the bottom of the sixth, but El Dorado ended up scoring on the mishap, and followed with four more hits and three more scores.

For Abundant Life pitcher Jake Chambers, the late momentum for the Wildcats meant watching a two-hitter fade, as the hits and runs mounted during El Dorado’s final turn.

Abundant Life’s only score in the game arrived in the third inning, when Thomas Graick RBI’d to score Justin Treece, who reached with a walk. Graick’s shutout-stopper was the only hit in the game for the Owls, as Wildcats pitcher Matthew Johnson took the win by striking out eight batters and allowing only the one hit.

Although Chambers took the loss for Abundant Life, his numbers were still very respectable, especially against a much larger opponent. Chambers gave up six hits and had five strikeouts. Four of the six hits occurred after the lethal error in the sixth, and only one of the five Wildcat runs was earned.

The loss moves Abundant Life’s overall record to 17-7 on the season, with the conference record remaining 4-1, only one game out of 3A-2 leaders Harding Academy.

At this point, the Owls have all but wrapped up at least the No. 2 seed for the upcoming 3A district tournament next week, with a legitimate shot at overtaking league-leading Harding Academy. Abundant Life only has to win one of its four remaining conference games to ensure a No. 2 seed for the bracket.

The Owls were scheduled to play at home against Brinkley on Tuesday, but the game was cancelled due to inclement weather. Abundant Life will be back in action tomorrow with a non-conference game at home against Central Arkansas Christian.