Cabot downs Lady Hornets to retain share of first place

CABOT — The Cabot Lady Panthers kept pace with the North Little Rock Lady Charging Wildcats atop the 6A-Central Conference with a 10-0 win over the Bryant Lady Hornets on Friday night. The Lady Panthers improved to 11-1 in league play as North Little Rock did the same with a 9-6 victory over the Fort Smith Northside Lady Bears. 

Bryant, now 6-5 in the conference, has clinched the four seed from the league to the 6A State Tournament with an outside chance to move up to third.

The Lady Hornets managed just five hits against Cabot’s Sami Romano, who walked no one and struck out no one.

The Lady Panthers took advantage of four Bryant errors and six walks with nine hits to earn the run-rule win. Layne Smith and Kirsten Jones each had two hits.

Romano and Bryant’s Hannah Work were locked in a scoreless duel for the first two innings. In the third, however, Cabot took advantage of a pair of walks and a single by Jones to load the bases. Riley Walthall then lined to Alissa Suarez at second, who threw to first to double off the runner there as the other two runners held. So, the Lady Hornets were an out away from getting through the inning unscathed but Aubrey Lee and Grace Neal each had RBI singles and the Lady Panthers had a 2-0 lead. Christine Mefford, on in relief of Work, struck out Halley Gamewell to end the inning.

Meagan Chism opened the Bryant fourth with a single and Rachel Dillon cracked a single up the middle. Romano got Aly Bowers to pop out and when Suarez flew to Walthall in center and Chism tried to tag and go to third, she was thrown out.

In turn, Cabot added to its lead. With the bases loaded, Rylie Hamilton singled in a run then another scored when Walthall’s grounder was misplayed. Work came back to pitch and struck out Lee and got Grace Neal to ground into a force at home. But Smith singled to center to drive in two more and it was 6-0.

Both teams were retired in order in the fifth. In the sixth, Caitlin LaCerra led off for Bryant with a bunt hit. Maddie Thompson sacrificed her to second. And, with two out, Dillon singled to put runners at the corners. But Romano got the third out to maintain the shutout.

Cabot ended the game in the bottom of the sixth by scoring four more runs, all after two were out. A pair of walks and an error contributed to the scoring.

The Lady Hornets return to action on Tuesday when they host North Little Rock. They play at Central on Wednesday and at Conway on Friday to wrap up their conference slate. Senior Night will be held on Tuesday, May 7, when they take on Benton in their regular-season finale.

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