After a scorching hot start to region play, the Bulldogs cooled off a bit in north Georgia last week. The Bulldogs suffered their first series loss in Region 7-4A action, falling in two out of three contests to Northwest Whitfield.
Tuesday’s contest in Tunnel Hill was the quickest seven inning game of the year for Cedartown baseball. The Bulldogs faced Northwest Whitfield’s Cade Fisher and did not find much success.
The 6-foot-4 left-handed pitcher is a junior committed to Florida, and the southpaw fanned 17 Bulldog batters in seven innings. Eli Barrow, Corben Cuzzort, and MJ Holiday were the only Cedartown players to register a hit in the 4-0 loss.
Reece Tanner started the series on the mound for Cedartown. The sophomore righty had a great start before allowing a two-run homer in the second inning. He was pulled in the bottom of the fourth after getting into some more trouble, as senior Camden Jackson was brought in.
The Bruins added two insurance runs that inning and cruised to the region victory. Tanner had four earned runs on three hits and three walks, registering one strikeout in 3 1/3 innings. Jackson gave up just two hits in 2 2/3 innings pitched in relief.
The Bulldogs were slated to host Northwest Whitfield for a doubleheader at
Cedartown High School on Friday. Sadly, Thursday’s storms did a number on the baseball complex, damaging the dugouts and netting at CHS.
Rather than postponing the important region series or deciding to play it at a neutral site, the two sides agreed to meet in Tunnel Hill on Friday evening for the last two matchups between the Bruins and Bulldogs.
Cedartown’s offense started well, as Dylan Cupp scored on a wild pitch in the first inning and, in the second inning, Harlem Diamond brought home Denver Nale on a sacrifice fly. Unfortunately for those who made the trip from Polk County, the Bulldog offense slowed down and scored just two runs in the last five innings.
Cedartown’s defense committed five errors as well, as Northwest Whitfield scored one run in the third, four runs in the fifth, and three runs in the seventh to pull away for an 8-4 victory.
Nale was 2-for-4 with one run while Cuzzort was 1-for-3 with one run batted in. Diamond had an RBI, Cupp had a run scored, and Eli Barrow had one hit in the loss. Cuzzort allowed just one earned run on four hits and two walks. The senior tallied three strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.
Jackson pitched two innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits and striking out three. Tanner picked up the final two outs, giving up no hits nor walks.
Though he had already lost the series, Cedartown head coach Gevin Johnson did a fantastic job of keeping his guys motivated for the still-important Game 3. The Bulldog offense plated three runs in the first inning, but the Bruins battled back to take a 6-3 lead in the third inning.
Cedartown kept chipping away, cutting it to a two-run deficit heading into the seventh inning. Then, as they were down to their final three outs, the Bulldogs got it done. Tanner scored from third on a passed ball to make it 6-5.
Two pitches later, Cuzzort ripped a line drive to center field that scored Cade Dingler and tied it. Cedartown had a chance to win it in the bottom of the seventh, but the Northwest Whitfield defense held strong and forced extra innings.
With two out in the bottom of the ninth frame, Cedartown was able to load the bases. In the most unlikely fashion, the Bulldogs pulled it off. Facing a 2-0 count with the chance to end the game, MJ Holiday was hit by a pitch from Asa Cleghorn. The bases-loaded free pass scored Eli Barrow from third and gave CHS a 7-6 triumph.
Zane Barrow was 3-for-5 with one RBI while Cuzzort was 2-for-4 with one run and one run batted in. Cade Dingler scored twice in a 1-for-2 day at the plate, Holiday was 1-for-3 with one run and one RBI, and Tanner had one run scored and one run batted in with his 1-for-5 performance. Eli Barrow scored once and Denver Nale drove in a run.
Dingler allowed five earned runs on three hits and three walks, but the senior did strike out five Bruins in 2 1/3 innings. Holiday pitched 2 2/3 innings in relief, striking out one and allowing one earned run on three walks and one hit. Britt Baxter saw his first appearance of the season, giving up no runs on just one hit and three walks in three innings. Dylan Cupp pitched the final inning, a three-up three-down frame.
After their 1-2 week, the Bulldogs sat at 10-6 overall and 7-2 in region play. Cedartown is still ranked above Northwest Whitfield (14-4, 7-2) at the moment, but sit second in Region 7-4A behind Heritage-Catoosa (11-3, 4-0).
The Bulldogs return to play this week against the Pickens Dragons (8-7, 2-5). Cedartown is scheduled to host Pickens at CHS on Tuesday, but it is uncertain whether or not the game will be played in Polk County.
The Bulldogs will travel to Pickens High School in Jasper for a region doubleheader on Friday, with game one starting at 5:30 p.m.