SPORTS >> Bruins advance to state
Leader sports editor
It may have been the 7th of July, but Cabot head coach Andy Runyan had a few fireworks left over on Tuesday night in the junior zone tournament at Burns Park.
Runyan, who may just have been letting loose his frustration at not being able to coach his team during the previous two weeks’ Arkansas Activities Association dead period, went out with a bang during Centennial Bank’s season-ending 12-1 loss to Sylvan Hills Optimist Club, getting tossed from the game after arguing that a Sylvan Hills double was actually a foul ball.
Runyan provided what drama there was in the contest, which along with North Little Rock’s win on Wednesday afternoon, qualified Optimist Club (20-6) for the junior state tournament at Sheridan. The Bruins opened with Sheridan last night in a game played after Leader deadlines.
Sylvan Hills was able to do all its damage on just five hits while taking advantage of six walks, a hit batter and four Cabot errors.
James McCraine, who was masterful in five innings of no-walk relief on Saturday, struggled to find the strike zone on Tuesday, walking three and hitting one in 1 2/3 innings. He pitched a 1-2-3 first inning, but the Bruins lined out twice and Austin Spears opened the second with a hard-hit grounder to short.
But with one out, Sylvan Hills went to work on its way to scoring seven runs on just two hits. After Blake Rasdon walked, Justin Cook reached on an infield hit. Michael Lock drew a walk and Brian Chastain was hit with a pitch to force in a run. With two outs, Cain Cormier’s single made it 2-0 and Trey Sims’ walk brought in another. Weston Conard came on in relief and Lance Hunter hit a long fly to center that Zach Uhiren reached. But the ball went off Uhiren’s glove as three more runs came in.
Hunter made it 7-0 after he scored on another Cabot error.
Centennial Bank (11-15-2) got its only run in the third on a walk to Bryson Morris and an error.
The Bruins put it away in the third, scoring five runs on two hits, three walks and two errors. Sims had an RBI single and Hunter delivered an RBI double.
Blake Hannon got the win for Sylvan Hills.
Earlier in the day, Optimist Club fell 17-7 to North Little Rock.
GWATNEY CHEVROLET 3
The season concluded in heartbreaking fashion for Gwatney’s junior team when Conway scored a run in the seventh inning.
Gwatney put two runners on in the bottom half but left them stranded.
After Conway took a 2-0 lead in the first inning, Nick Rodriguez had an RBI double in the bottom half to cut the lead in half.
But Conway added a run in the second and Gwatney spent the rest of the game playing catch-up. In the fifth, Jacksonville got a run back on Zach Traylor’s double and Devon McClure’s single.
The Chevy Boys finally tied it in the sixth when Alex Tucker walked and Michael Lamb and Orlando Roberts singled to make it 3-3.