SPORTS>>Community Bank turns things around
Leader sports editor
SHERIDAN — It’s hard to imagine a much worse beginning to the Sheridan Wood Bat Tournament than the one Cabot Community Bank suffered through on Thursday afternoon.
The first six Hot Springs batters reached safely. The first three scored.
But Cabot starter Matt Evans quickly got hold of things, allowing only three more base runners from that point on as Community Bank opened with an 8-3 win in the pool-play portion of the tournament.
Cabot (6-6) belted out 13 hits in the contest — a particularly large number considering wood bats have much less firepower than the aluminum bats American Legion players are used to playing with.
“I’m pretty happy with eight runs and 13 hits,” said Community Bank coach Jay Darr. “We finally got our offense going and were able to come out of here with a win.”
Darr was heading to the store after the game to buy more bats after his team broke five of the seven they brought with them.
Cabot took on Russellville in a game played last night after Leader deadlines, and will battle Sheridan tonight at 6:30. The tournament semifinals — between the winners of the four pools — will take place at 2 p.m. on Sunday, with the finals immediately following.
Two soft singles, three Cabot errors, a hit batsman and a walk got Hot Springs off and running on Thursday before catcher Ben Wainright threw out a runner trying to steal second and Evans retired the final two of the inning with just three runs worth of damage.
It took Cabot five innings to eventu ally erase that deficit, though they began in the first inning. Shayne Burgan and Drew Burks singled with one out. Burgan was gunned down trying to reach third on the play, but Burks made it 3-1 when Sam Bates beat out an infield single and the second baseman threw wildly to first.
In the third, Evans got the first of his three hits when he doubled with one out, then scored on Burgan’s single up the middle.
Community Bank’s bid to tie it in the fourth was thwarted when Ty Steele tried to score all the way from second on Jeff
Cooper’s ground-out to short. Steele was out at the plate.
Meanwhile, Evans was mowing them down, retiring 12 straight until Randy Young’s one-out single in the fifth.
Community Bank finally took the lead in the fifth with three runs on three hits. After Jeremy Wilson and Evans reached on infield singles, Burgan was dealt an intentional walk to load the bases. Burks then delivered a single past a drawn-in second baseman to score two and put Cabot on top 4-3. Burgan scored on Bates’ sacrifice fly.
With Evans dealing, insurance seemed unnecessary, but Community Bank got it in the sixth when they put together five hits to score three more runs. A double by Matt Turner and singles by Cooper, Wilson, Evans and Burgan made it 8-3.
Evans and Burgan each had three hits. Evans scored three times, while Burgan drove in two. Burks and Wilson added two hits apiece. Burks drove in two and Wilson scored twice.
Evans settled down to toss a 4-hitter, allowing two earned runs and fanning eight.
“We got off to a slow start and they got a couple of bloop hits,” Darr said. “That’s going to happen (in a wood bat tournament) until your guys figure out where to position themselves.
“Matt had a good game. He has a really good eye at the plate and a lot of pop. And you see what he can do on the mound.
He’s just a real well-rounded player.”