Leader Blues

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

SPORTS>>Cabot AAA splits two at Blytheville

Leader sportswriter

Cabot’s Class AAA American Legion team had very mixed results during a two-game stand at Blytheville on Saturday. Post 71 dropped the first game of the twin-bill in five innings during a miserable 13-0 performance, but recovered nicely to take the nightcap 6-2 without the benefit of head coach Andy Runyan’s input during the final three innings.

There was little for Cabot fans to write home about in the opener, in which Post 71 sent 11 Blytheville batters to the bag by either walks or hit-by-pitches. Cabot itself only ended up with four runners on base the entire contest off two hits and two walks.

The defensive performance overall left a little to be desired, as two Cabot errors helped an already-hot Blytheville team extend their already large lead into run-rule status by the end of the fifth inning.

The second game was much more closely contested, and definitely more heated.

“I got tossed in the fourth inning,” Runyan told the Leader. “I had what you could call a disagreement with the umpire over a strikeout. (Justin) Haas had a 3-1 count, and they called strike two on a marginal pitch. When he got called on the K, I debated the second strike with the umpire. Our assistant coach Chris Gross took the reigns from there and did a great job getting the win for us.”

Cabot’s first run would arrive in the second inning when Jeremy Wilson tripled to bring in Jackson Chism. Three more runs came one inning later in the third, when Ben Wainwright, Chism and Sean Clarkson all came away with RBIs to increase the lead to 4-1.

Despite leading most of the way in game two, Post 71 took the proper precautions to assure themselves the win with a pair of insurance runs in the top of the sixth inning. The two scores were almost gimmies by Blytheville, as Haas and Chad Bryant both received walks to reach base, and both runners would come in for their respective scores during passed balls at the plate.

Clarkson took the win at the mound for Cabot. Clarkson went the distance, giving up two runs while striking out four batters.
The split moved Cabot’s record to 8-9 on the season. Cabot was scheduled to host Searcy Monday night. With the number of strong teams remaining on the schedule, and Post 71’s already improved 2-1 zone record this season over last year’s winless effort, Runyan says his team is looking better by the day for the upcoming zone tournaments.

“We have definitely made progress in the last 12 months,” Runyan said. “We didn’t have a single zone win this time last year; we went 0-5. I feel a lot better about things this year for sure. We have a lot of good teams still left to play. Hopefully that will have us ready to play once tournament time rolls around.”