The Cabot Panthers received some great pitching performances while winning the Red Devil Classic held at Hickingbotham Field in Jacksonville.
Cabot had to take on a pair of tough Class 5A schools to win the championship trophy. The Panthers beat the Beebe Badgers 3-1 in the semifinals then defeated Sylvan Hills 2-1 in the finals.
Against Beebe, it took every inning available to snatch the win from the Badgers.
Cabot missed a key scoring chance in the top of the first inning. With two outs, Riley Knudsen doubled, followed by Tristan Bulice being hit by a pitch. Coleman McAtee singled, but Knudsen was thrown out at the plate trying to score.
The Panthers did strike first when they got on the board in the second inning. Grayson Cole singled, moved into scoring position on a Denver Mullions single, then scored on a single to right by Lee Sullivan.
Cabot was held scoreless from there until the seventh inning, while Beebe tied the game in the fourth with an unearned run.
Sullivan did the damage again in the seventh inning when he doubled in Dylan Bowers, who had singled earlier. Kason Kimbrell singled in Sullivan for an insurance run and 3-1 lead.
Adam Hicks slammed the door on Beebe in the bottom of the inning, getting a grounder to first and a pair of strikeouts for the win in his second inning of relief.
Gavin Tillery got the start and pitched a great game against Beebe, lasting five innings and striking out nine while giving up just two hits.
The championship game against Sylvan Hills looked like it might be a little more high scoring when both teams scored in the first inning. Cabot scored in the top of the inning when Sullivan walked, then crossed home on a double by Bulice.
Sylvan Hills tied the game in the bottom of the inning with a double, sacrifice bunt and an error.
Neither team really threatened until the fourth inning when the Panthers took advantage of some uncharacteristic wildness by the Bears’ pitching staff. Tillery, Mullins, Cole and Connor Vocque all walked consecutively, with the walk to Vocque driving in Tillery for what would be the winning run.
Kimbrell started on the mound for Cabot and lasted five innings, giving up just two hits, two walks and an unearned run while fanning three in the win. Zach Patterson took over in the sixth inning and earned the save while allowing one hit and one walk while striking out a pair in two innings of work.