Leader Blues

Thursday, July 03, 2008

SPORTS>> Cabot juniors wrap up zone with win

Leader sportswriter

Andy Runyan added cheerleading to his coaching duties on Wednesday night at Conrade Memorial Baseball Field. The Cabot Community Bank junior Legion team rallied from an early 3-0 deficit against North Little Rock, but needed to close out strong in order to wrap up the regular season zone championship with an undefeated mark.

Scoring seven runs in the bottom of the fifth did just that. Matt Turner’s 3-run homer busted open a tie game and Community Bank won its first-ever zone title with a 10-3 win over the Optimist Colts. Cabot finished zone play with a perfect 7-0 mark (19-4-1 overall), which will put them in the No. 1 seeding for next week’s zone tourney at Burns Park.

“I challenged them, and one thing that this group does is respond to challenges,” Runyan said. “I told them we’ve got a tie ballgame and we have a chance to win the regular season zone championship. Go establish a lead and then give Matt (Evans) a chance to throw his ballgame. Don’t leave it up to a bleeder or an error or a chink hit, go establish a lead and let’s win it going away.”

The Colts did all of their damage in the early going, with two runs in the top of the first inning, and their final score coming one frame later. The Cabot bats were silent until Powell Bryant’s triple sent in walk recipient Ty Steele in the bottom of the second inning. Bryant then pulled Community Bank to within one when he crossed the plate on a Chase Thompson single.

Andrew Reynolds scored the tying run in the bottom of the fourth. He reached on a single, and Powell Bryant’s second hit of the game, this one a single to left field, put him across to make it 3-3.

Evans (5-1) shut the Colts’ bats down in the late going. He faced only three in the top of the fifth, and struck out two with a groundout to first for the third out.

Joe Bryant led off the Cabot fifth with a double to left field and Cole Nicholson reached on an error on a bunt. Turner then followed with a smash over the left field fence to put Community Bank up 6-3. It was a solid cushion with the time limit running out, but Cabot wasn’t done. Reynolds walked, followed by a double for Powell Bryant, his third hit of the game. That scored Reynolds for a 7-3 Cabot lead. That led to a complete meltdown of the NLR defense from there.

Bryant scored on a passed ball, as did Thompson and Evans shortly afterward. The Colts finally got one last chance to answer in the top of the sixth, but Evans finished them with a 1-2-3 inning to end it.

“Their pitcher was doing a good job of keeping his stuff down,” Runyan said. “He was getting strikes low in the zone; he was getting his breaking ball over. It took our guys a little while to adjust to it, but one of the things I’ve been so proud of our kids for all year is that very seldom have we gotten dominated by the same guy all game.

“We’ve been able to make adjustments and get that guy out of the game. There’s been times when they brought a stopper in and shut us down after that, but very seldom have we not made adjustments and not gotten to the starter at some point.”

Powell Bryant was 3 of 3 with a triple and 3 RBI. Thompson was 2 of 3 with a RBI. Cabot will host Greenbrier in a doubleheader on Monday.