Leader Blues

Friday, March 12, 2010

SPORTS >> Inning dooms Lady Panthers

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

Greenbrier turned a close matchup against Cabot into a blowout in a matter of one inning on Thursday at Conrade Sports Complex.

Greenbrier racked up two singles and two triples in the top of the sixth inning, which generated all but two runs in an 8-1 non-conference rout.

Cabot leadoff batter Caitlin Gunn did her part with three triples, but she was stranded after two of her drives into deep left field. Gunn scored the Lady Panthers’ only run in the bottom of the first when she tagged up and came home on a pop-up to right by cleanup hitter Jenny Evans.

Greenbrier broke a 1-1 tie in the top of the fifth when Bailey Reynolds hit a sharp single down the first base line to score Taylor Atkinson. Once the sixth inning began, Greenbrier seemed to find every hole in Cabot’s defense.

“We gave up too many pitches up the middle in that inning,” Cabot coach Becky Steward said. “It was a good game, we’ve just got to do a better job of getting runs across the plate. These girls all have state tournament experience and summer experience, so we’re not a young team.”

Cabot pitcher Kendall Calderon had mixed results for the Lady Panthers. The senior transfer from Lonoke retired Greenbrier in order in the second and third innings before giving up a triple to Taylor Jones in the top of the fourth. But shortstop Chelsea Conrade and first baseman Sarah Martin turned their second double play of the inning to leave Jones stranded.

In all, Calderon gave up nine hits, no walks and struck out one.

“She’s going to have to make some adjustments to a 7A schedule because it’s quite a bit different from what she’s used to,” Steward said of Calderon, who replaced departed four-year Cabot pitcher Cherie Barfield this year. “Once she makes those minor adjustments, she’s going to be fine. She knows everyone because she’s played with them before, so it’s not like she’s a stranger.”

Things began shakily for Cabot in the top of the sixth when Greenbrier’s Kaylee Malden reached on an error. She advanced on a single by pitcher Cicely New and scored on a single from Taylor Jones.

New and Jones scored when Andrea Harding tripled. Hardin sent a flare over Conrade’s head at shortstop and deep into left center to make it 4-1. Atkinson hit Greenbrier’s second triple of the inning to right center to score two more runs, and she scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Stormy Eberg.

Cabot had its share of hits, but was not able to capitalize in the same manner.

Conrade singled in the top of the first following Gunn’s triple, but was left on. Martin grounded to second for a single in the bottom of the third with two outs, while catcher Pete Reed and Kristi Flesher both singled in the bottom of the fourth.

Both were stranded, making five left on by Cabot, which fell to 6-5.

“It’s good to have Caitlin back,” Steward said of Gunn, who did not play for Cabot in 2009. “She must have missed it, because she made the choice to come back, and I’m glad she did. When you lead off with that much pop, word is going to get around that you have to pitch away from her, and that sets up the next three batters.”

Cabot will begin 7A-Central Conference play Thursday at home against Russellville.