The Cabot Centennial Bank White Junior American Legion team finished second in the zone tournament Monday night with an 8-5 loss to Jacksonville in the championship game at the Brian Wade Conrade Memorial Field.
The loss wrapped up a wild 24 innings of baseball over a 24-hour period, beginning with a 2-0 win over Jacksonville that took 10 innings to complete Sunday night.
Cabot began the tournament with a 6-0 win over Lonoke, lost 8-5 against Conway, bounced back with a 5-3 win over Sylvan Hills, the 2-0 win over Jacksonville, then a 13-10 win over Conway Monday night, giving them the chance to turn right around and play in the championship game.
“Man, that was a long tournament,” said Cabot White coach Chris Gross. “That’s a lot of baseball over 24 hours, and I think we still outplayed them (Jacksonville).”
Monday night’s championship game against Jacksonville’s Gwatney Chevrolet was a complete turnaround from Sunday’s extra-inning pitcher’s duel.
Gwatney committed seven errors, but got the timely hits that Cabot White couldn’t come up with. All five of Cabot’s runs were unearned.
Cabot took an early lead in the first inning when Chris Odom and Adam Hicks both reached on shortstop errors. Dylan Bowers sacrificed both over, then watched Odom score on a wild pitch. Hicks came around to score on a single by Brandon Jones. A popup and strikeout ended the inning.
Jacksonville came back to take the lead in the second with one of those timely hits. With two outs and nobody on, Gwatney had their six-, seven- and eight-hole hitters load the bases on a single, a walk and a hit batter. Nine-hole hitter and starting pitcher James Tucker drove a pitch into the corner for a bases-clearing double that gave Jacksonville a 3-2 lead.
Cabot tied the game in the bottom of the inning, but would never retake the lead. Lee Sullivan reached on an error, then scored after another Gwatney error and a single by Hicks.
Jacksonville took the lead for good in the third thanks to consecutive doubles by Greg Jones and Courtland McDonald. A bunt by DJ Scott was fielded clean, but the throw sailed into the right field foul territory as Scott raced to third. A Dontae Harris single brought Scott in, giving Jacksonville a 5-3 lead in the fourth.
Cabot missed a pair of chances in the fourth and fifth innings. Two runners were stranded in the bottom of the fourth, while a run was gunned down at home from left field in the fifth, spoiling a three-hit inning.
Jacksonville came through with another two-out hit in the sixth inning, widening the lead to 7-3. Harris walked, while Derek St. Clair beat out an infield single sandwich around a pair of sacrifice bunts. Blake Perry drove a two-run double in the gap before a strikeout ended the inning.
Cabot pulled closer with two runs in the bottom of the sixth after Odom reached on Jacksonville’s seventh error of the night, followed by Bowers being hit by a pitch. A single by Hicks loaded the bases with no outs for Cabot White. Jones picked up a sacrifice RBI with a fly out to right, followed by a groundout RBI from Gavin Tillery. A groundout to short ended the rally.
Jacksonville added an insurance run in the seventh inning when McDonald had an infield hit, moved to second base on the sacrifice bunt and kept running to third, as the base was left unoccupied. A throwing error to third allowed McDonald to score and set what would be the final margin.
Cabot got their first two batters on base to begin the bottom of the final inning as they tried to come from behind. Austin Null struck out, but reached by on the wild pitch third strike. Dalten Hurst reached on a walk, and both were sacrificed over by Sullivan. Flyouts to right and center brought an end to the game.
Odom went the distance on the mound for Cabot, scattering nine hits while walking two and striking out one.
Sunday’s 2-0 win over Jacksonville saw some epic pitching performances from both sides. St. Clair pitched the full 10 innings for Jacksonville, giving up six hits while striking out 21 batters and walking only three. St. Clair struck out at least two batters each inning, except for the 10th.
Cabot’s Hicks and Tillery didn’t amass the strikeouts, but pitched just as well, if not better. Hicks went seven innings, giving up four hits while fanning eight. Tillery came in and gave up just one hit and one walk while fanning four over three innings. Hicks pitched out of a bases-loaded with no-outs jam in the second inning, then stranded runners in scoring position in the third and seventh innings.
Cabot left runners on base in the second, fourth and seventh innings before breaking through in the 10th inning. Tillery led off the 10th with a single, then moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Null. Sullivan drew a walk, followed by a single by Hurst. Jonathan Latture reached on an error that brought in Tillery and Hurst to finally put a crooked letter on the scoreboard. Tillery ended the game in style by fanning the side in the bottom of the 10th to end the game.
Cabot’s opening game of the tournament against Lonoke was highlighted by Odom tossing a complete game, no-hit shutout. Odom walked five and struck out eight in the win. Sullivan had two hits, Null drove in two runs, and Hicks scored two runs for Cabot.
Hicks and Tillery also teamed up for Cabot’s win over Sylvan Hills. Bowers had a single, double and two runs in that win, while Trent Frizzell added a big two-run double.
Cabot will host the American Legion Junior State Tournament beginning this weekend.