The Cabot Lady Panthers won a crucial 6A-Central softball game on Friday. Cabot and Bryant were tied for first place going into the game, and the Lady Panthers pulled out a 5-4 victory to take over sole possession of the top spot in league play with two games to go.
Both teams got nine base hits and both teams scored four earned runs, but a two-out Bryant error in the seventh inning gave the Lady Panthers the game-winning run.
Cabot sophomore Jarah Potter drew a leadoff walk to start the rally in the top of the seventh. Paige Peirpoint attempted a sacrifice bunt, but Bryant catcher Regan Dillon alertly went to second with her throw to get the lead runner.
Junior Graci Hock then grounded back to the pitcher, who went to first base for the second out, leaving Peirpoint safe at second.
Sophomore Emma Holland then singled to left field to put runners on the corners with two outs. Sophomore Jordan Williams then hit a grounder to second base, but it was flubbed, allowing Peirpoint to score the game-winning run.
Cabot still needed three outs to secure the win and got them in rapid succession with a first-pitch groundout, another groundout and a pop-up to first base.
The Lady Panthers seemed to be in control, holding a 4-0 lead going into the bottom of the fifth inning, but Bryant got hot and tied it up in that half frame.
Cabot had scored one run in the fourth with a leadoff base hit by Snow and a two-out, RBI single by Hock. The Lady Panthers added three more in the fifth with a show of power. Sophomore Akayla Barnard hit a solo home run to start the fifth inning. Sophomore Emma Scales doubled to left field before Snow hit a two-run home run over the fence in right field.
Cabot loaded the bases again with one out but failed to push across another run.
Bryant’s first five batters reached base on four singles and an unsuccessful 5-2 fielder’s choice throw that cut Cabot’s lead to one run. The Lady Panthers then got a crucial and rare 8-6 double play. Crucial because the next batter, Emma Bonvillian, hit an RBI single to right field that would have scored two runs instead of one had Cabot not converted the double play.
Snow went 2 for 3 with a home run and two RBIs to lead Cabot offensively. Barnard and Holland also got two base hits.
Barnard spent all seven innings in the circle, allowing nine hits and four earned runs with five strikeouts and zero walks.
Cabot (20-4, 11-1) hosted Northside last night after deadlines, and will play at North Little Rock on Friday in the conference finale. Bryant (22-6, 10-2) played at North Little Rock last night and will host third-place Conway tomorrow.
Cabot will host the Class 6A state tournament that begins next Thursday.