Local baseball teams got a taste of minor league action Saturday when several of them made the short trip to State Mutual Stadium to participate in the annual Rome Braves High School Invitational.
Coosa head coach Micheal Dougherty said being a part of the slate of games was a good way for his team to have a unique experience.
“This is a good thing for the kids, for the parents, and we try to make sure everybody plays and everybody enjoys the experience,” Dougherty said.
“It’s a big field, and it’s once a year. It’s nice getting to come out here and see what the minor league guys play on. There’s a big jumbotron out there, and it’s a good community event they do, and we appreciate everything every year.”
Darlington pitcher Lawson Brown was excited about the chance to play at the Rome Braves’ home stadium.
“I love playing here,” Brown said. “It’s like a dream playing here.”
Saturday's event featured a total of four games, with Armuchee and Model playing in the final game of the night.
Pepperell 9, Coosa 3
Pepperell used a big third inning to take the lead over Coosa and scored three more runs in the sixth to seal a 9-3 win over the Eagles in the afternoon Region 7-AA contest.
With the bases loaded in the third, Pepperell sophomore Gage Moses doubled to right field to bring in Wesley Wade and Jake Chandler. Zac Garrett was able to score from first while Moses got pinned down between second and third. A throw home in an attempt to get Garrett allowed Moses to make it safely to third. He then scored on a wild pitch later in the inning to put the Dragons up 5-1.
“I actually thought I was out,” Moses said. “I thought he was going so I ran to third and I kind of got caught.”
Moses is a sophomore and is one of many young players for Pepperell (7-6, 4-1 7-AA), which only has two seniors on its roster.
“Gage is a fantastic player,” Pepperell head coach Justin Bishop said. “He’s just a very good kid. He does a lot for us, and he’s very important to us. We’re good, but with a young team it can go up and down. Any time we can beat a region opponent and get everyone in the game it's great. We’re a team that’s getting better and better every week.”
Moses finished with a single, a double, three RBIs and a run scored. Garrett had two singles and a run scored, and Wade had a single, a triple and two runs scored.
Coosa (1-10-2, 0-5) started to cut into the Dragons’ lead when Gage Clanton scored on a sac fly by Elijah Smith in the top of the fourth to make the score 5-2. Logan Pledger and Dawson Edwards hit back-to-back doubles in the top of the fifth with Pledger scoring to make it 6-3.
Bruce Anderson got the win for the Dragons. He pitched 4 1/3 innings, gave up six hits and struck out two. Hunter Henderson came on in relief.
Pledger took the loss for Coosa. He gave up seven hits and struck out three in three innings. Jorge Castillo, Jackson Thomas and Brevan Knight pitched in relief.
Coosa is at Cedar Bluff, Alabama, on Monday, while Pepperell hosts Model on Tuesday.
Darlington 2, Mt. Zion-Carroll 1
Darlington and Mt. Zion-Carroll were caught up in a pitchers’ duel through four innings until the Tigers broke open a 0-0 tie and held on for a 2-1 win in a Region 6-A tilt.
Brown pitched a complete game for the Tigers, allowing five hits and striking out five, including two in the top of the seventh inning.
“Both pitchers were very efficient,” Darlington head coach Matt Larry said. “Lawson did a heck of a job competing and going after those guys early and getting ahead. He got a good complete game out of it.”
The Tigers (6-4-1, 5-2 6-A) scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth when Trystin Wright came home on a single by Kobe Nadu. Charlie Bell then scored on a sac fly by Lawson Goodwin.
Mt. Zion (4-6, 1-5) tried to gain some momentum in the top of the sixth when Christopher Cohen scored on a single by Ray Cheeks, but Brown was able to strike out the next batter for the third out and keep the Tigers' lead safe despite their coach's concerns.
“We had a long way to go, and they had the meat of their order coming up in the top of the sixth,” Larry said. “We knew it was going to be shaky, but Lawson was able to get out of it.”
Aiden Cloud had two singles and a stolen base for Darlington, and Nadu finished with a pair of singles. Darlington will face Mt. Zion again Monday on the road.