Leader Blues

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

SPORTS>>Cabot rallies, but ousted

By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

The Cabot AAA baseball team played hard and out hit Zone 3 tournament host North Little Rock 19-11, but couldn’t overcome a disastrous first inning that saw the Colts score 11 runs on six hits before the skies opened up and caused a nearly two-hour rain delay.

After the delay, Cabot outscored North Little Rock 9-8, but the first was too much to overcome. Cabot coach Andy Runyan was still pleased with how his team fought back.

“To be down 11-0 after one and not get run ruled just shows what kind of heart this team has,” Runyan said. “Golly they played hard. I got ‘em together and said look, we can either roll over and get embarrassed, or we can just play hard, pull together, try to peck away at the lead and see what happens. We never could get real close, but we never gave up. We made those umpires earn their money, I can tell you that. ”

The Post 71 team was down 16-6 in the bottom of the seventh inning when it staved off an early ending for the first time. Catcher Shayne Burgan came through with a two-RBI double to get within the 10-run limit.

To get it that close, left fielder Colin Fuller hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning. Fuller got base hits on each of his last three at bats.

Drew Burks went to the mound in the second inning and pitched three frames before yielding to Sam Bates, who finished out the contest.

“There’s two guys that have battled injuries and just haven’t seen a lot of mound time, but they came in and did a good job for us. North Little Rock has just been killing the ball all tournament, and they kept as quiet as anybody we’ve seen ‘em play in this thing.”

Burks gave up three earned runs while Bates allowed just two in his the final four innings.

The story of the game, outside of the first inning, was the stranded Cabot runners.

“We left a small village on the base paths,” Runyan said. “We out-hit them by seven or eight hits, but we put a lot of their guys on and they capitalized. For some reason we didn’t. We still did pretty well. Nine runs is usually enough to win, but when you think about how many more we left on base, you see it was really close to being a lot closer game.”

Fuller and Burgan each finished 3 for 6 while Chad Bryant went 3 for 5. Jackson Chism went 1 for 1 with three walks and scored two runs.

Runyan goes back to the previous as a better testament to how much his team has improved since the summer season began.

Cabot lost that game 6-5 to Conway in 10 innings in the finals of the winners’ bracket, but there’s more to that story than it seems.

“When you look back at how badly they beat us in high school, and look at the fact that we took them to extra innings, that’s a big step for us because we haven’t been there. They threw their best two at us and we gave them everything they wanted. They got us pretty good two times in high school, and I think that game shows how far we’ve come this summer.”
The Cabot Post 71 Class AAA team finished 14-17 on the season.