Gordon Central opened Region 7-AA play on Monday as things started going in the wrong direction early on against Armuchee, and the Warriors could never get back on track after that.
Gordon Central fell behind 6-0 after two innings as they dug themselves a hole they couldn’t get out of, and the Indians kept adding to finish off an 18-1 win in four innings on the Warriors’ home field. Armuchee added another run in the third and really blew the game open in the fourth with a huge 11-run frame.
Gordon Central first-year head coach Jeremy Sewell said his team was unable to answer the adversity they faced in the early innings of their region opener at home on Monday.
“Mentally it’s tough when you go down on the scoreboard early in the game,” said Sewell. “I think we probably haven’t fully gotten out of the mindset these guys have had the previous couple years when they didn’t win a game. Things start to go bad, and they can’t get back in the game. But it’s going to come. We’ve won some games early this season after they went winless the last two years. We got into region play today, and I guess mentally they weren’t quite ready for that yet. But we’ll try to learn from it and get better going forward.”
After falling behind 18-0 after Armuchee’s 11-run top of the fourth, Gordon Central (3-3, 0-1 in 7-AA) didn’t quit in the bottom half of the inning. Bryson Fowler led off the frame by ripping a triple past the right fielder. Ryan Norman then followed with an RBI-groundout to get the Warriors on the scoreboard and get a little something positive to end the game.
“Bryson came up and hit the ball well in that last inning,” said Sewell. “It was good to get a run there. There isn’t any moral victories, but that is something positive to take away from today. We could’ve quit altogether, but they kept fighting and was able to put a run on the board.”
The only other hit for the Warriors for the day was Justin Brooks who roped a ball over the center fielder in the second inning, but he was thrown out at third trying to stretch it into a triple.
Armuchee starter Sam Russell had a stellar outing on the mound, going four innings for the shortened complete-game win. He allowed one run on two hits and struck out six.
Russell was backed up by a steady effort from up and down the Indians’ lineup as every batter either drove in or scored a run in the game. Gauge Burkett and Jacob Stanley led the way as each went a perfect 3-for-3. Stanley had a homer, a double and three RBIs, and Burkett was the table-setter in the leadoff spot with a double, two RBIs and four runs scored.
Also chipping in offensively for the Indians (4-4, 1-0) was Ethan Nixon with two hits, an RBI and two runs scored, Randon Carter with a hit and two RBIs, Brayden Perry and Brantson Duck with a hit and an RBI apiece, Bleu Swanson with two RBIs, Brett Barker with two walks and a run scored and Christian Hale with a walk and two runs scored.
Gordon Central used three pitchers in the game with Jacob Silvers pitching two innings, Eli Henderson following with 1 1-3 innings of relief and Nate Tate coming into get the final two outs in the fourth.
Sewell said his players have definitely shown that they want to turn the program around with their work ethic and attitude, but the team still has lots of room for improvement.
“We haven’t been able to practice much the last couple weeks because of the weather, but these guys have still shown that they want to work hard to get better,” said Sewell. “They’ve come in voluntarily some days just to hit in the cage and get some work done. They definitely want to put the time in. We’ve seen some improvement and a little bit of success with the early wins, but we still have a long way to go.
“I’m just trying to get these guys to believe that they can win some games and compete. We’re still learning how to do that.”
Gordon Central is on the road on Friday for another Region 7-AA contest as they travel to Rockmart at 4:30 p.m. Their next home game is Tuesday against Pepperell at 4:30 p.m.