The Cabot Panthers kicked off the baseball season in a pretty epic way, welcoming new coach Ronnie Goodwin with a 5-3 win over the Vilonia Eagles that took 11 innings to play.
Cabot took the lead two other times in extra innings, only to have Vilonia battle back to tie the game and force another inning.
Kason Kimbrell had a one-out single in the top of the first inning, but the Panthers didn’t have another runner reach base until the sixth inning, when both teams also scored their first runs.
Kimbrell also got the sixth inning rolling when he reached on a throwing error. He wouldn’t stay on base long, as Riley Knudsen followed behind Kimbrell with a double. Vilonia tied the game in the bottom of the inning with consecutive doubles.
After a quiet seventh and eighth innings, Cabot took the lead in the ninth after Denver Mullins walked, moved to second on a wild pitch, and later scored on a single by Knudsen.
Vilonia kept up their clutch play as well, scoring in the bottom of the ninth after the leadoff man in the inning singled and later scored.
Cabot did their own clutch hitting as the game went to the tenth inning. Lee Sullivan hit a two-out single, moved into scoring position when Adam Hicks was hit by a pitch, and scored on a bobbled ball off the bat of Grayson Cole.
Vilonia’s answer this time was a two-out home run from their clean up hitter, adding yet another inning to the marathon game.
Cabot scored and added an insurance run in the eleventh inning to finally grab their first win. Knudsen started the rally with a two-out walk, followed by Zachary Patterson’s single. Tristan Bulice was intentionally walked, setting up a two-run double by Sullivan.
Vilonia was out of miracles this time and went down in order in the bottom of the eleventh. Knudsen and Sullivan each had a pair of hits to lead the Panthers.