Heading into their region opening series with the Ridgeland Panthers, Cedartown baseball was challenged by their coaching staff to work on improving the squad’s hitting.
If the product on the field is any indication, they must have worked pretty hard.
The Bulldogs’ offense was the key to sweeping the Panthers last week, as Cedartown scored 40 runs in three games to start out 3-0 in Region 7-4A.
The road trip to Rossville last Tuesday was the tightest of the series. Cedartown raced out to a 6-0 lead before Ridgeland benefitted from defensive mistakes down the stretch.
The Panthers scored four runs in the fourth inning and one in the sixth inning to cut it to a one-run deficit. In the top of the seventh inning, though, Cedartown plated six insurance runs and held on for a 12-5 victory.
Denver Nale was 4-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs. Reece Tanner scored three times on a 2-for-4 day and also drove in one run. Dylan Cupp was 2-for-4 with two runs while Cade Dingler was 1-for-4 with one RBI and one run scored. Corben Cuzzort failed to record a hit but the senior did drive in two runs and score twice.
Tanner pitched 3 and 2/3 innings, striking out three and allowing two earned runs on three hits and four walks. Camden Jackson allowed one earned run in 2.1 innings pitched and struck out one Panther batter. Dylan Cupp tallied two strikeouts as he entered in the seventh inning.
The opening game of Friday’s doubleheader at Cedartown High School contained another slow start for the Bulldogs. Cedartown brought home one run in the first inning, but Ridgeland battled back to control a 3-1 lead in the top of the fourth inning.
Harlem Diamond picked up a two-RBI hit to tie it at 3-3 in the bottom of the fourth, and Cedartown never looked back. The following inning, CHS scored 10 runs to run-rule Ridgeland 13-3. Some of the key hits in the bottom of the fifth included a solo home run by Cade Dingler, a two-run double by Dingler, and a two-RBI triple by Corben Cuzzort.
Dingler was 3-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs. Cupp went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and one run batted in while Zane Barrow was 2-for-2 with two RBIs and two runs.
Diamond finished 1-for-2 with two runs batted in and one run. Cuzzort drove in two runs in a 1-for-2 performance. Nale scored twice and had one RBI, and Tanner batted in two runs and scored once.
Cuzzort pitched the full five innings, allowing no earned runs. Panther batters managed just one hit and three walks against the senior, while striking out six times.
Both sides saw their best offensive performance in the third and final game of the series. Ridgeland plated a run in the top of the first, but Cedartown responded with three runs in the home half. The Bulldogs led 11-2 through three innings and continued to pile it on in a 15-5 win in five innings.
Cupp was 2-for-3 with three RBIs and three runs while MJ Holiday drove in three runs and scored once in a 1-for-3 day. Barrow was 1-for-2 with two runs scored and one run batted in. Xavier Holiday recorded his first varsity hit and scored twice against the Panthers.
Dingler struggled a bit in the first inning, allowing one earned run on three walks and striking out two. He was relieved by Cam Jackson. The senior struck out two batters in two innings and did not surrender an earned run on two hits and two walks. MJ Holiday pitched the final two innings, allowing three walks but recording five strikeouts.
Following the three-game sweep of Ridgeland, Cedartown sat atop the region standings at 3-0 tied with Heritage-Catoosa going into this week. The Bulldogs (6-4, 3-0) were set to play a three-game series with Central-Carroll this week, beginning with a single game Tuesday at Cedartown High School followed by two matchups at Central High School in Carrollton on Friday.