The Cabot Lady Panthers capped off their regular season the right way, with a 10-1 win over the Searcy Lady Lions.
With the win, Cabot will return to the Class 7A state tournament after a one-year absence.
Two runs in the top of the first would have been all Cabot needed, but the Lady Panthers poured it on with six more runs in the sixth inning and two more for good measure in the seventh.
Taylor Anderson led off the game with a single, followed by a singled from starting pitcher Kaitlyn Thompson. Heather Hill smashed a double to drive both girls in and give Cabot a quick 2-0 lead.
Three walks a pair of single gave the Lady Lions base runners each of the first three innings, but Thompson was able to get key strikeouts and take advantage of some solid defense to get out of those jams. Consecutive singles and a grounder were finally enough for Searcy to break through in the bottom of the fifth to score and make the game 2-1.
After a hot start to the game, Cabot’s bats cooled off for the next four innings. Rachel Allgood and Shauna Attendorn each singled in the second inning, but Allgood was erased on a fielder’s choice, while Attendorn was stranded. Molly Wood singled in the third inning with two outs, but was left on base. The fourth inning saw the Lady Panthers just miss a scoring opportunity. Lane Justus singled with one out, then moved into scoring position one out later on a walk to Anderson. Thompson singled up the middle, but a perfect throw home by the center fielder nailed Justus at the plate for the third out.
After Searcy made it a one-run game in the fifth inning, Cabot’s bats woke up in the sixth. The Lady Panthers scored all six of their runs with two outs. Justus was first to reach base thanks to an error at third, and came around to score after an Attendorn single, a walk to Anderson and Thompson’s third single of the game. Anderson and Thompson scored on a hit by Hill and another error at third on a hard hit ball from Brandyn Vines.
Cabot added two runs in the seventh inning when Anderson reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on a double by Thompson. Thompson scored one pitch later on an RBI single from Hill.
Thompson finished off a banner night by retiring the heart of Searcy’s lineup in order in the bottom of the seventh, while finishing 4 for 5 with a double and three runs at the plate.
Anderson also scored three runs for Cabot, while Hill had three hits and four RBIs.
Cabot will play Van Buren in the first round of the Class 7A state tournament in Springdale on Thursday at noon. If they win, the Lady Panthers will play Friday at noon in the quarterfinals. The state semifinals are Saturday at noon.