Bulldogs settle down to win first round matchup

Cedartown’s Denver Nale makes contact for a hit against Mays during Game 2 of a doubleheader in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs on Wednesday, April 28, at Cedartown High School.

UPDATE:

Monday's second-round state playoff series between Cedartown and Flowery Branch has been postponed due to inclement weather. A make-up date has not yet been announced.

PREVIOUSLY POSTED: 

The Bulldogs used a quick series victory over Mays on Wednesday, April 28, to win their first-round state playoff matchup. With the 4-3 and 12-1 triumphs, Cedartown baseball advances to the Sweet 16 for the first time in five years.

Wednesday’s series opener at Cedartown High School was close throughout. Mays junior Termarr Johnson, the No. 1 shortstop in Georgia for the class of 2022, was the first to pitch for the Raiders.

The Bulldog offense managed just five hits off Johnson but found a way to generate four runs. Tied 3-3 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, MJ Holiday singled on a line drive to right field that scored Reece Tanner from second base.

Holiday, who has been injured since the Pickens series on Apr. 2, came through with the game-winning RBI to lift CHS to a 4-3 victory.

Corben Cuzzort pitched five innings for the Bulldogs, striking out six and allowing two earned runs on five hits and three walks. Dylan Cupp allowed no runs in the final two innings, giving up just one hit and tallying one strikeout.

Cuzzort was 2-for-3 at the plate with one run scored and one run batted in while Holiday was 1-for-3 with one RBI. Cade Dingler scored once and drove in one run and Reece Tanner was 1-for-4 with one run. Cupp was hitless with one run and Denver Nale was 1-for-4 on the day.

After a short intermission, the two sides were set for the second game of the first round series. This was a much shorter affair as the Region 7-4A champion Bulldogs never let off the pedal in a 12-1 victory in five innings. Cedartown scored 12 runs on just three hits, as Mays pitching struggled to even find the zone.

The Raiders’ staff allowed ten walks in five innings, allowing Cedartown to score five runs in the first, one run in the second, three runs in the fourth, and three runs in the fifth inning of the run-rule blowout.

Nale was 1-for-1 with three runs scored while Cole Dingler scored twice and drove in two runs. Dylan Cupp touched home plate twice in the win and MJ Holiday scored twice and had one RBI. Tanner was 1-for-3 with one run and one run scored. Zane Barrow drove in two runs in a 1-for-3 performance. Cuzzort and Cade Dingler each scored in the win. Tanner struck out seven batters and gave up one earned run on two hits and no walks. Shorter commit Camden Jackson pitched one inning in relief, walking one and striking out two.

With the two wins over Mays (8-14), Cedartown is now 21-9 on the season. The Bulldogs advance to their first Sweet 16 since 2016, the year CHS advanced all the way to the Final Four in Class 3A. It will not be quiet as easy of a journey this time around for the Bulldogs in the second round.

Coach Gevin Johnson’s squad will play the three-seed out of Region 8-4A, the Flowery Branch Falcons (24-7). The Falcons are currently ranked as a top-five team in Class 4A and only finished low in their region because they play amongst the likes of perennial powers North Oconee and Jefferson.

Flowery Branch is coming off a sweep of Fayette County last week, winning 10-0 and 10-5 with the first victory coming via a perfect game by pitcher Mason Compton.

The second-round playoff series was slated to be played after press time at Cedartown High School on Monday and Tuesday. For an update on how the Bulldogs fared, please check next week’s edition of the Polk County Standard Journal.

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