The Cabot Panthers wrapped up their conference season with a doubleheader split with the Searcy Lions this past week. They added a 15-0 thumping of Des Arc in the week for good measure.
The Panthers fell 7-2 in the opening game against Searcy, unable to solve the Lions’ big ace pitcher.
Cabot’s two runs came in the first and fifth innings. Casey Vaughan reached on an error in the first, stole second and scored on a single by Riley Knudsen. In the fifth inning, Conner Vocque hit a one-out double, then scored after consecutive singles from Cole Thomas and Ryan Logan.
Other than a rough third inning for the Panthers, where the Lions scored five runs, the game was an even matchup. Vocque went 2 for 3 in the loss, leading the Panthers at the plate.
The second game of the double-dip didn’t start out well for the Panthers, with Searcy taking a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. That was all the offense Searcy would be able to muster, as Cabot came back to take a 4-2 win.
Zach Patterson got the win for Cabot, tossing the first six innings and giving up two runs on six hits and two walks while fanning nine. Chipper Morris came in to pitch the seventh inning for the save.
Cabot had chances to score more than four runs, with runners reaching scoring position in all six innings the Panthers batted. The Panthers scored one run in the second inning, took the lead with two in the fourth, then added an insurance run in the sixth.
Grayson Cole walked and scored in the second after a Brent Dean single and an error. Vocque and Vaughan both walked in the fourth inning and both came around to score after singles by Knudsen and Kason Kimbrell.
Searcy gave Cabot the run in the sixth inning, with Vocque reaching on an error and eventually scoring on a wild pitch.
Against Des Arc, Kyle Kaufman and Kimbrell combined for a four-inning one-hit shutout. Kaufman pitched the first three innings, giving up one hit and striking out five.
On offense, Cabot had just a 2-0 lead going into the third inning. Vocque and Vaughan had worked their way around the bases in the first inning, but the Panthers went down in order in the second inning.
The third inning was when things got out of hand, with the Panthers drawing six walks and banging out eight hits while scoring 13 runs. The Panthers had one batter come to the plate three times in the inning.
The first time through the order, eight of the nine Panthers reached base and scored. Vocque, Logan, Vaughan and Knudsen each scored two runs in the third, with Knudsen hitting a double and single in the inning. Those four also each had two RBIs in the win. By the time the dust settled, Cabot held a 15-0 lead and went home early with the mercy-rule win.
Vocque and Vaughan each scored three runs, although they had just two hits. Vocque walked twice, while Vaughan also walked and reached on an error. Scott Burnett went two for three with a pair of singles, a run and an RBI.
The Panthers earned the fifth seed from the Central in the Class 7A state tournament. They will play Rogers in the first round Friday at noon in Rogers. If Cabot wins, it will play Friday at noon. The state semifinals are Saturday at 2:30 p.m.