Leader Blues

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

SPORTS>> Centennial Bank bows out

Leader sports editor

Coming into the American Legion senior state tournament, the last thing Cabot Centennial Bank head coach Jay Darr was concerned about was his offense.

Cabot, after all, had just finished pounding out 60 runs at the zone tournament the previous weekend and came into the state tourney as hot as any of the eight teams.

But the Cabot bats went largely silent in two games and the season came to an end in a 7-1 loss to Fayetteville in an elimination game on Saturday morning at Burns Park. Centennial Bank, which on Friday lost 9-3 to Jonesboro, managed just four runs and 14 hits in their two-game stint. They finish the season 16-12.

In both of its losses, Cabot gave up key two-out hits after nearly escaping jams. Friday, it was Jonesboro scoring five unearned runs after two were out to break open a 4-3 game in the eighth.

On Saturday, it was Christian Allen delivering the big two-out blow when he belted a double over Brandon Surdam’s head in centerfield to clear the bases and give Fayetteville a 3-0 lead. The inning began with Tyler Shaddy’s liner off the arm of Cabot starting pitcher Andrew Reynolds, which forced him to leave the game.

Tyler Erickson came on in reliefand got a strikeout and a pop up sandwiched around a walk. But Erickson hit Adam Baker to keep the inning alive and Allen made him pay when he lined the first pitch to straightaway center.

Fayetteville’s Mike Sisco was anything but overpowering. He struck out the first batter of the game, but fanned only two more after that. But he kept Cabot hitters off balance. They got only two hits in one inning — the ninth — and picked up single hits in the second, third, fourth, seventh and eighth innings. Sisco held Sam Bates hitless after he tore up pitching at the zone tournament when he went 14 of 21.

Erickson kept the game within reach through the eighth. He allowed a run in the seventh on a single and a double as Fayetteville took a 4-0 lead. Centennial Bank got on the scoreboard in the eighth when Chase Thompson beat out an infield single, stole second, moved to third on Powell Bryant’s sacrifice fly and scored on Surdam’s ground out.

But Fayetteville all but put it away with a three-spot in the eighth on two singles, a double and an error.

Though Erickson allowed 11 hits over 6 2/3 innings, he gave up only four earned runs while fanning six. He allowed three walks and hit two batters.

Against Sisco, Centennial Bank didn’t get a runner past first until the sixth, when Powell Bryant reached on an error and moved to second on a ground out. Bates’ bid to narrow the gap to 3-1 was frustrated when his hard liner into right center was hauled in on a diving catch by Blake Sanford. Cabot then wasted a two-out double by Ben Wainwright in the seventh.

In the ninth, Burks and Matt Turner singled with one out, but Wainwright’s line drive went right to the third baseman, and Erickson’s bouncer back to the mound ended the game and Cabot’s season.