Leader Blues

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

SPORTS>> Cabot takes a pair from Jacksonville

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

Clayton Fenton’s complete game, four-hit, four-strikeout performance for Gwatney Chevrolet was more than good enough to win on most nights, but UA Fort Smith freshman Colin Fuller upped the ante on Monday.

Fuller fanned 13 batters and gave up only three hits en route to a 2-0 win for Cabot Community Bank at Conrade Memorial Field.

An error at second base in the bottom of the sixth inning ended up the deciding factor in the senior Legion pitcher’s duel, as one of Gwatney’s best infielders in Terrell Brown let one slip under his glove and into the outfield off a grounder by Drew Burks.

Matt Evans and Shayne Burgan scored on the play for the only two runs of the night. Evans led off the deciding frame with a single into centerfield, and Burgan’s stand-up double two outs later put a runner at third for the first time all evening.

Brown made up for the error moments later by turning his second double play of the game, but Fuller closed it out forCommunity Bank in the top of the seventh by doing what he had done almost all night — striking out people.

Fuller retired six of the final eight Jacksonville batters he faced, leaving Fenton holding the loss after a stellar performance of his own.

“You saw two guys throwing good games tonight,” Cabot coach Jay Darr said. “(Fenton) threw a good game for Jacksonville. Our guy, Colin, came out and had 13 Ks. His slider was just nasty, and he threw his change-up real well too. With him being a college kid, we want him to work on all pitches. This is him just getting work in for the summer.”

Plate highlights were few and far between for both clubs on Monday. Gwatney leadoff batter Adam Ussery was the only batter for either team to come away with multiple hits with a pair of infield singles.

He ended up stranded both times. In fact, second base was as far as the Chevy boys were able to make it against Fuller and the Cabot defense all night.

Fuller did walk Tyler Wisdom in the top of the second inning, and hit two batters with pitches in the late going, but Thurman’s double into center in the top of the first inning was the only big hit Fuller allowed.

Darr may have wanted to see more offense from his squad, but he was thankful that they capitalized on the opportunity they were given late.

“That’s what close game are all about,” Darr said. “One play can swing it one way or the other. He makes that play, and then we miss a play the next inning, then it could turn the other way. I give credit to both teams. Both teams played real hard.

“This is a rivalry — it has been for a real long time. It’s really good to see kids come out here and play their hearts out and have close games.”

Cabot senior Legion is now 5-5 on the season.
The Gwatney senior team started its week out on a strong note with a 3-0 shutout win over Texarkana on Sunday at Burns Park. Michael Harmon got the win on the mound with a four-hit performance.

CABOT JUNIORS 6, GWATNEY 5

The Community Bank junior Legion team had an even tougher way to go on Monday. Gwatney jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the fourth inning, but a walk-off double by Justin Tyler in the bottom of the fifth inning completed the comeback for Cabot.

Andrew Reynolds started the winning rally when he singled down the third base line. Tyler then sent a deep fly ball that landed right in the hole between left fielder Jeffery Tillman and centerfielder Hayden Simpson.

“We’ve kind of turned into the heart attack kids,” Cabot coach Andy Runyan said. “That’s a couple of games in a row now that we’ve started out slow and really tried to make a charge late. It didn’t work out for us against North Little Rock. We ended up winning the game big at Conway Christian, and tonight, we were able to get away with the one-run win.

“Justin Tyler, man, it doesn’t get much bigger than that. We’re up against a time limit. If we don’t score, we tie. To us, a tie is just like a loss. You don’t feel any better. If this game were played anywhere besides Cabot, that would have been a walk-off home run.”

Cabot’s offense showed little signs of life until the bottom of the fourth inning, as the innings, along with the hour and 50 minute time limit, began to run out.

Jacksonville pitcher Stephen Swaggerty had done a solid job of keeping Cabot batters off the bases for most of the contest, but a pair of walks to start the bottom of the fourth inning was the beginning of the unraveling for the Chevy boys.

Ty Steele and Reynolds both took free trips to first to start the rally, and both came home on a triple to the fence by leadoff batter Matt Evans.

A passed ball scored Evans to make it 5-4.

Cabot is now 13-3-1 for the season.