Leader Blues

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

SPORTS>>Cabot AAA topples NLR Colts

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

The Cabot Class AAA American Legion team needed two extra innings to get it done, but came away with a huge win over North Little Rock 8-6 Friday night at Vince De Salvo Stadium in Burns Park.

Cabot trailed the Colts 6-3 entering the top of the sixth inning, but pulled to within one score in the sixth, and tied the contest with one more run in the seventh to send the game into extra innings. “We just weren’t playing very good baseball,” Cabot coach Andy Runyan said of his team’s early struggles. “The boys clawed back in the game and started playing better. We just haven’t had very good luck at that field.

“I don’t think we’ve won a game there since I’ve started coaching, so we have some bad mojo there for some reason. The kids fought through it and did a good job.”

North Little Rock was poised for a blowout in the opening frame, scoring four runs against Cabot southpaw Justin Haas. The Clark College signee had an unusual struggle in the bottom of the first, but recovered to keep the Colts off the scoreboard in the three subsequent innings until being relieved by Josh Brown in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Brown closed out the inning without allowing a hit, paving the way for Sean Clarkson to take the mound in the sixth inning. Clarkson gave up three hits on his way to collecting the save, but no NLR runners would score.

Although Haas gave up an unfortunate nine hits, in his defense, the six runs collected by the Colts were also aided by four Cabot errors while he was on the mound. The fielding improved with the pitching in the late going, with no further errors committed in the remaining five innings.

Cabot did not come alive offensively until the top of the third inning, when three runs pulled Post 71 to within a single score at 4-3. North Little Rock did not answer until the bottom of the fifth inning with two more scores made the score 6-3 in favor of the Colts.

Cabot slowly climbed its way back in the game with a pair of runs in the sixth inning, and finally pulled even in the seventh to send the game past its scheduled seven innings.

Both teams went scoreless in the eighth, but Post 71 captured their first lead of the game in the top of the ninth inning when Sam Bates hit a two-run home run with two outs. That put North Little Rock in the unfamiliar position of facing a two-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth.

The Colts needed two scores to stay alive in the bottom of the ninth, but Clarkson would have none of it. He shut NLR down in the ninth with runners on first and third , striking out the final Colts batter to secure the incredible comeback win. Cabot is now 10-9 overall and 3-1 in zone play.

Jackson Chism led Cabot at the plate, going 3 for 4 with one run and a stolen base. Sam Bates scored the biggest hit of the game with a homerun, ending up 2 for 4 with two RBIs. Shayne Burgan was also 2 for 4 with a double and a RBI.
Cabot played against Faulkner County at Conway last night after Leader deadlines in a Class AAA doubleheader.