COLEMAN - The Caney Cougars defeated the Bennington Bears 15-1 on Thursday afternoon in the opening round of the regional tournament. The Cougars scored seven runs in the opening frame and never looked back. “It was our first time to make it to regionals in a while and I think we had some butterflies,” said Bennington coach Tommy McWilliams after the game. “If a couple of things go wrong for us in an inning it takes a while for us to get out.” Chase Crites, Emery Bagby, and Hunter Manning each had RBIs in the top of the first as the Cougars batted around. In the top of the second, Bennington starting pitcher Isaac Perez came back with a scoreless inning. Ryan Lott and Tad Holt led off the Bennington half of the second inning with a pair of singles. William Minyard followed with another single to load the bases. Ryan Perry hit into a fielder’s choice and Lott scored from third for the lone Bennington run. The Cougars went back to work again in the third inning and scored two more runs on an RBI double from Wes Eldridge to make it 9-1. The Bears opted for a pitching change and brought Lott in with the bases loaded. Four more Caney runs crossed the plate in the inning to make it 13-1. In the bottom of the fourth, Manning flashed some leather at second base for the Cougars and made a nice sliding stop to his right to get the runner at first for the out.
The Cougars scored two runs in the top of the fifth with an RBI double from Garrett Whatley. Caney starting pitcher Eric Armstrong retired the side in the bottom of the fifth to end the game. Armstrong pitched all five innings for the Cougars and struck out three batters. Lott, Holt, and Minyard each made it into the hit column for the Bears with a single. Manning went 3-for-3 at the plate for the Cougars with an RBI double. Crites went 1-for-3 with two RBIs. Garrett Green went 2-for-3 and finished with two RBIs.
“They’re a good team and they hit the ball well today,” said McWilliams. “They hit it where we weren’t.”