SPORTS>>Pitching helps Cabot put stop on Jacksonville
Leader sports editor
Cabot jumped on Jacksonville early and shut down the Red Devils late in a 4-1, non-conference victory at Dupree Park on Friday.
The Panthers (6-2) got two runs in the first inning and the pitching staff quieted what had been an explosive upper part of the order for the Red Devils (6-2), holding Jacksonville to three hits and retiring 11 of the final 12 hitters in order.
“It’s a rivalry game,” Cabot coach Jay Fitch said. “We’re not conference anymore but they’re still a big game on our schedule and we are for them. I know they were 6-1 coming in and had just pounded West Memphis; we knew they could swing it.”
Jacksonville is a member of the 6A-East Conference while Cabot is in the 7A-Central. Cabot was coming off a recent victory over nationally ranked Fayetteville and got four hits and benefited from three errors in Friday’s two-run first.
Jacksonville coach Larry Burrows said Cabot starter Matt Evans was the best pitcher his team had faced. Evans worked five innings, giving up one run and three hits while striking out four, walking one and hitting a batter.
“That’s the reason we schedule these guys,” Burrows said. “And that’s the reason later in the year we scheduled Benton and Sheridan and Sylvan Hills in the middle of our conference.”
Powell Bryant led off the game with a single and advanced on a throwing error on a pickoff attempt by Jacksonville starter JesseHarbin, then scored when Evans doubled but was gunned down trying to take third.
Tyler Erickson singled to left, advanced on Tyler Crook’s fielding error and scored when catcher Patrick Castleberry fielded Brandon Surdam’s bunt and threw wildly to first to make it 2-0.
Left fielder Andrew Reynolds led off the fourth with a home run off Harbin over the right field fence and in the fifth, Bryant walked, advanced on the Red Devils’ fifth error and scored on a fielder’s choice.
Jacksonville’s lone run came in the fourth when the hot-hitting Castleberry doubled to right-center and scored on Nick Rodriguez’s single. The Red Devils’ only baserunner after that was Caleb Mitchell, who walked and was stranded in the sixth.