It might not have come in the blowout fashion they have gotten used to this season, but Cedartown baseball was able to win last week’s Region 7-4A series against Pickens.
The Bulldogs were able to bounce back after dropping two out of three games with Northwest Whitfield the week before by winning the first and third games against the Dragons.
Tuesday’s series-opener at Cedartown High School saw both sides take large leads early on. Pickens jumped out to a 4-0 in the top of the second inning, capitalizing on walks and well-timed hitting.
Cedartown responded in kind in the bottom of the second, plating seven runs and taking a 7-4 advantage. The Bulldogs continued to pour it on in the middle innings, building as large as an eight-run lead before Pickens added one run in the final inning.
When all was said and done, Cedartown took the first game of the series 12-5 at home.
Denver Nale led the offense in a 3-for-4 day at the plate with two runs batted in and one run scored. Zane Barrow was 2-for-2 with three runs, while MJ Holiday finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs and one run scored.
Harlem Diamond was officially hitless on the day but did record one RBI and scored once. Trent Johnson and Reece Tanner drove in one run each, Dylan Cupp and Cole Dingler scored twice each, and Cade Dingler and Corben Cuzzort touched home plate once. Tanner, the starting pitcher, allowed four earned runs on four hits and two walks in four innings. He tallied one strikeout.
Senior Camden Jackson pitched the final three frames, striking out two and allowing one run on three hits and one walk.
Cedartown did not have as much success in Game 2 of the series. The Bulldogs traveled to Pickens High School in Jasper on Friday for a doubleheader and lost the first game 10-8. CHS raced out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning, but the Dragons responded with three runs in the home-half of the second to tie it up.
Cedartown scored the following half-inning and held a 4-3 lead going into the fourth. The bottom of the sixth inning was not friendly to the Bulldogs, as a Dragon-rally resulted in six runs to put Pickens back on top.
Cedartown used big hits from Tanner and Nale to score four in the top of the sixth, cutting the deficit to just one-run. Unfortunately for the Red-and-Black, Pickens added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth and retired the side in the seventh to pick up a 10-8 triumph.
Nale and Cade Dingler had identical stat-lines in game two, going 2-for-3 with one run batted in and one run scored. MJ Holiday was 1-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs, while Cupp scored twice in a 1-for-3 performance. Zane Barrow was 1-for-3 with a run while Eli Barrow added a RBI. Tanner was hitless but did score thanks to an error.
Cuzzort allowed four earned runs in three innings, picking up four strikeouts but giving up four walks and two hits. Jackson pitched 2/3 of an inning and allowed four earned runs on four hits and two walks. Britt Baxter struck out one batter in the final 2 1/3 innings, having no earned runs on two hits and one walk.
The loss set up a series-deciding Game 3 in Jasper on Friday night. Aside from one poor inning, Cedartown’s pitching and defense was solid in the series finale. The Bulldogs scored one in the first, two in the third, two in the fifth, and one in the sixth to generate a 6-0 lead.
Cade Dingler, the starting pitcher, gave up no hits through the first three innings, allowing just three walks and tallying two strikeouts. Xavier Holiday pitched two good innings in relief, leading into the bottom of the sixth.
With Pickens down to their final six outs, though, Bulldog pitching struggled seemingly out of nowhere. Holiday walked the first two batters and was relieved by Roper.
The sophomore righty picked up a quick strikeout, but then walked two consecutive batters to score the game’s first run for Pickens. Tanner then subbed in but was yanked after issuing three free passes.
Now up just 6-4, head coach Gevin Johnson decided to put in Dylan Cupp to pitch. The sophomore Mississippi State commit recorded a strikeout, then a diving catch in left field by Harlem Diamond saved the lead for the Bulldogs heading to the final inning.
Cedartown scored four runs themselves in the top of the seventh and held on in the home half to win 10-4.
Zane Barrow was 3-for-4 with two runs and one RBI while Tanner was 1-for-4 with two runs scored and one RBI. Cuzzort added a run and a run batted in in his 2-for-4 performance, and Cupp walked thrice and scored each time.
Cade Dingler was hitless but drove in two runs and scored twice. Eli Barrow tallied one RBI and Cole Dingler finished 1-for-4 with a run batted in. Cupp pitched the final 1 2/3 innings, giving up two hits but recording three strikeouts.
Following the series victory, the Bulldogs are now 12-7 on the year and 9-3 in region play. The Bulldogs still sit behind Heritage-Catoosa (8-1 in region play) and Northwest Whitfield (7-2) in the region standings but have two series left to fight for a home playoff series.
Cedartown will have this week off in Region 7-4A play but will participate in the Battle for Bartow at LakePoint Sporting Community in Emerson. The Bulldogs will play Cartersville at 4 p.m. Thursday before taking on Cass at 1 p.m. Friday. The tournament will conclude at 4 p.m. Friday, as Cedartown plays Woodland.