Leader Blues

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

SPORTS >> Cabot, Jacksonville meet different fates in weekend tourney

Jacksonville junior outfielder Riley Zinc makes contact in a recent game.

By JASON KING

Leader sportswriter

Cabot won a game and technically lost two at the Ozarks Fast Pitch Softball Classic at Harrison on Saturday — one game to an opponent and the second to Mother Nature.

The Lady Panthers (9-5) won easily against Dumas 19-0 in the first round and moved on to face a dominant Mountain Home team in the semifinals. The Lady Bombers took that game 3-0 and sent the Lady Panthers to face host Harrison in the third-place game, but storms moved in and cancelled the remainder of the tourney.

“Overall, the kids didn’t let the hurricane-force winds affect them all that much,” Lady Panthers coach Becky Steward said of the climate conditions Saturday. “I would like to have played Harrison, because they also have some good pitching. We need to be playing. We’re reaching a point now where we’re going to be playing two to three times a week.”

Every Lady Panthers player got at least one hit and came away with at least one RBI in the rout over Dumas. But once Cabot got to the semifinals and faced dominant Mountain Home pitcher Shelby Anderson, the hits were not as abundant.

Kaitlin Gunn hit a double to lead off the game, but was left stranded, and the Lady Panthers never had anything more than a single for the remainder.

The Lady Bombers took a 2-0 lead at the end of the first inning and added a third run in the bottom of the sixth.

“That first inning, we just had a couple of mental mistakes,” Steward said. “The score could have been worse; we got ourselves out of a couple of jams.”

The Lady Panthers went into spring break on an up note after winning their 7A-Central Conference opener against Russellville 1-0. Cabot played host to Conway on Tuesday and will be off until next Tuesday when it plays at North Little Rock.

“Of course, you have to worry about your Bryants and North Little Rocks,” Steward said. “But you can’t really overlook anyone in this conference. I think we’re all really evenly matched from three to eight.”

JACKSONVILLE

The Jacksonville Lady Red Devils lost two games at the Ozarks Classic on Saturday.

Paragould won 3-1 in the first round, then the Lady Devils saw a tight game against Nettleton slip away late, 10-3.

Jacksonville was set to play Dumas in the final consolation round when storms moved into the area.

“We probably had a chance to win that first one in the bottom of the seventh,” Lady Red Devils coach Tanya Ganey said. “We just didn’t get that extra hit that we needed. We were ahead in the second game, then they tied, went ahead, and we had a really bad inning. That’s when they put up all those runs on us.”

Jacksonville will shift gears back into the 6A-East Conference. The Lady Red Devils began conference play with two victories over Little Rock Hall before being swept by league front-runner Mountain Home.

Jacksonville hosted Marion on Tuesday night and will play at West Memphis on Thursday.