Leader Blues

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

SPORTS>>Community Bank wins one, loses one at Maumelle

By KELLY FENTON
Leader sports editor

For 3 1/3 innings on Monday night, Sam Bates was in complete control.

The Cabot Community Bank senior Legion hurler had struck out five, allowed two harmless bloop singles and begun the fourth with a weak pop to short.

Then the bottom fell out.
Maumelle erupted for six runs on six hits and one critical error and went on to rally for a 10-6 win at Maumelle.

Though Bates’ line doesn’t look too impressive – nine hits over 3 2/3 innings – it hardly tells the story. Trailing 4-0, Maumelle got a pair of solid singles with one out in the fourth, but it appeared Bates and Cabot would escape damage when third baseman Ty Steele threw a runner out at the plate one batter later.

A bloop single scored one, a balk scored another and a misplayed fly ball in left made it 4-3. Two infield singles tied it and a triple put Maumelle ahead 6-4. That was it for Bates, who was replaced by Josh Brown.

Community Bank bounced right back from the disastrous inning to tie it in the fifth. Ben Wainright hit the first offering of the inning over the fence in left. Two walks and a sacrifice by Brown tied it.

A leadoff single by Maumelle in the bottom half was wiped out on a strikeout-throw-’em-out double play when Wainright caught the runner stealing on Chase Thompson’s great catch and tag.

Maumelle scored in only two innings, but both were big ones. Three doubles, two walks and a wild pitch put four more on the board and Maumelle led 10-6 after six.

Community Bank started a potential rally in the seventh with a pair of walks, but a strikeout, a flyout and a caught stealing at third ended it as Cabot fell to 5-6.

Community Bank had opportunities to put the game away early when they stranded six runners over the first three innings. Shayne Burgan and Drew Burks delivered one-out singles in the first but were left on. Cabot took a 1-0 lead in the second on
Matt Turner’s triple and Steele’s RBI single. Steele came across on Powell Bryant’s double.

In the third, Burks drew a leadoff walk and scored on Bates’ rocket double to left-center. Steele made it 4-0 with another run-scoring single.

Brown went 1 1/3 innings, allowing two hits and one earned run, while fanning two. Burks pitched the sixth, giving up two hits and two runs and striking out two.

Maumelle finished with 13 hits, while Community Bank banged out nine, but only one after the third inning. Turner and Steele each had two hits.

CABOT ‘A’ 9, MAUMELLE 2

Community Bank’s junior Legion team showed no ill effects from a 6-day layoff, pounding Maumelle for 12 hits, playing errorless ball and allowing only three hits.

Still, head coach Andy Runyan wasn’t entirely pleased.

“We did some things right, we did some things wrong,” said Runyan, whose club improved to 14-3-1. “At times, we looked like the team we were before the break. And at times, we looked like we’d had five or six days off. But nine runs in your first game back, you can’t really complain about that.”

Leading the offensive attack was Matt Evans, who went 4 of 5 and drove in a run on his only out of the night. He also scored four times.

“The biggest thing is he’s really getting in the mindset of being a leadoff batter,” Runyan said. “He’s taking more pitches, getting on walking, getting on hitting the ball. He may be the best base runner I’ve ever coached. Put that with a guy with an on-base percentage of over .500 and that helps with getting nine runs.”

Community Bank could have gotten a lot more out of their production on Monday, as they stranded two runners in five of the six innings — 11 overall. But they were in control from the third inning on. Powell Bryant’s 2-run single in the first staked Cabot to a 2-0 lead, though Maumelle tied it in the second.

Bryant tripled and scored on Matt Turner’s infield single to put Cabot back on top for good in the third. They added two runs on just one hit in the fourth, getting a leadoff double by Evans, three walks and Turner’s sacrifice fly to go ahead 5-2.

Singles by Brandon Surdam and Evans and Joe Bryant’s 2-run double in the fifth made it 7-2. Bryant came in on a wild pitch.

The final run came in after Tyler Erickson singled and scored on Evans’ ground out in the sixth.

C.J. Jacoby pitched three solid innings for Community Bank, allowing two hits and two earned runs, while striking out four.

Evans gave up just one hit in three innings, striking out three.

“We looked a little rusty on the mound,” Runyan said. “Both guys I ran out there today didn’t get ahead in the counts. But they battled back and worked through their tough spots. I told them not to get too frustrated because it was the first time in six days they’d been on the mound.”

Powell Bryant had two hits and three RBI, while Joe Bryant had two hits, two RBI and three runs scored.

Community Bank makes up for its time off with three more games this week, beginning with a trip to Greers Ferry on Thursday.

Runyan told his team after the game on Monday that it can be as good as it wants to be.

“Playing against their age group, how we do is determined by how we play,” he said. “If we play flat, we can be beaten by anybody. If we play how we’re capable, we’re pretty tough. We haven’t played a great game and been beaten yet.”