Cabot White goes 2-2, qualifies for regional tourney

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Cabot’s Gavin Tillery scores a run for his team during the Junior American Legion State Tournament at the Brian Wade Conrade Memorial Field. (Photo by Chad Matchett)
Cabot pitcher Lee Sullivan fires one during the state tournament in Cabot. (Photo by Chad Matchett)

The Cabot Centennial Bank White Junior American Legion team had their quest for a state championship spoiled by a pair of one-run losses, but finished in the top four in state and will play in the regional tournament this weekend at Bryant.

Cabot won their first game 4-3 over Paragould, then fell 1-0 to Jacksonville on Sunday morning. Cabot came back later that day with a 12-9 win over Newport. Monday saw Cabot fall to Bryant 2-1 in their final game of the tournament.

Both of Bryant’s runs in the fourth inning were unearned, as starting pitcher Gavin Tillery took a tough loss.

“I thought Gavin pitched the game of a lifetime,” said Cabot White coach Chris Gross. “Bryant has only lost once or twice all year. We had them on their toes, had them nervous and they just don’t get like that.”

Cabot was held to four hits against Bryant, with three of those coming in the top of the fourth when it scored its lone run. Adam Hicks, Brandon Jones and Tillery all singled, with Tillery driving in Hicks. Chris Odom also had a single in the first inning.

Cabot’s win against Newport didn’t come easy, as the home team found themselves down 6-0 after two innings.

Cabot used Jonathan Latture’s bases-loaded triple in the third inning to start climbing back into the game. White added two runs in the fourth inning to tie the game, then took advantage of three hits, three hit batters and three errors in the sixth inning to score six runs and take control.

Tyler Gilbert led off the sixth inning being hit by a pitch, followed by a single from Odom and Dylan Bowers reaching on an error. Hicks and Jones were hit by consecutive pitches, setting up Tillery to drive in two runs with a double.

Lee Sullivan came in to pitch in relief for Cabot in the second inning and pitched six innings without giving up an earned run. Newport scored three in the seventh inning trying to come back, but all were unearned thanks to a pair of errors.

“Lee came in and just shut them down,” Gross said. “He’s had a couple problems and this is the first time he’s been able to throw all his pitches full speed.”

Sullivan scattered three hits over six innings, walking one and striking out five.

Hicks pitched a gem against Jacksonville, but was still straddled with a 1-0 loss. Jacksonville scored with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning when starting pitcher Blake Perry led off with a single, then scored an out later on a triple to right by Courtland McDonald.

“I thought we really outhit Jacksonville by a lot,” Gross said. “We just hit everything hard right at somebody.”

Cabot broke up a 3-3 tie with Paragould in similar fashion in the ninth inning of their 4-3 win. Bowers reached on an error and scored with Hicks drilled a triple to the outfield wall. Cabot scored their first three runs in the first inning thanks to Bowers being hit by a pitch, then three consecutive doubles by Hicks, Jones and Tillery.

“I feel good about how we’re playing heading into regionals,” Gross said. “We’re hitting it hard and really getting some good pitching.”

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