Part two of the baseball rivalry between Cedartown and Rockmart lived up to the previous meeting between the two cross-county foes, just extended by a few innings.
What was scheduled for a seven-inning affair Saturday afternoon at Rockmart High School was revised by a four-run bottom of the seventh from the host Jackets that pushed the game into extra innings.
After two go-rounds each, both teams showing signs of weariness, Rockmart got a well-timed and well-placed hit to centerfield in the bottom of the 10th by leadoff man Jake Bailey with a runner on third.
While a Cedartown outfielder made the catch, the sacrifice fly did its job, scoring Cole Deems and sending the Jackets’ bench into a frenzy with a 7-6 victory.
It was just a week and half earlier that Rockmart had been sent home in defeat after Cedartown’s Eli Barrow blasted a solo homer in the bottom of the seventh to give the Bulldogs a 7-6 win over the Jackets.
The game lasted just over three hours and 30 minutes and saw Rockmart score the final five runs of the game after trailing 6-2 after six and a half innings.
Rockmart pitcher Trevor Caldwell came on in the sixth inning and finished the game with 10 strikeouts, two walks and no hits to buoy the Jackets into position to get the walk-off win.
Cedartown (3-4) had set itself up with a run in the first inning, quickly getting leadoff hitter Dylan Cupp around after a single to start the game.
The Bulldogs added three more in the sixth after a pair of walks to start the inning that gave them a 4-2 lead. A pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh came when Zane Barrow scored on an error and Harlem Diamond crossed the plate when Cade Dingler was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Down 6-2, Rockmart loaded the bases in the bottom of the frame with one out when Cody Williams hit a sac fly to left field. Caldwell followed that up with a two-out, two-run double to left, and he got sent home by a double to the left field corner by Deems.
JD Davis flew out to Cedartown’s Corben Cuzzort at second, but the Jackets had forced the Bulldogs to go into extra innings with the score even at 6-6.
With MJ Holiday working the mound for Cedartown, Rockmart found little success in the additional frames. Likewise, the Bulldogs couldn’t get a spark against Caldwell, who struck out the side in the eighth, three more in the ninth and two in the top half of the 10th.
With the international tie-breaker rule in effect in the 10th inning, Deems took his spot at second base to start Rockmart’s at-bat while Reece Tanner was called on as Cedartown’s fourth pitcher of the game.
Colton Leathers laid down a long bunt and was put out on the throw to first, allowing Deems to advance to third and set up Bailey’s heroics during the next at-bat.
Cuzzort started the game on the mound for the Bulldogs and threw five innings, striking out six and allowing four hits and two walks along with no earned runs. Holiday finished with two hits, a walk and three strikeouts in 2 and 1/3 innings.
Dingler went 1-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs. He struck out two, allowed two hits and walked two in 1 and 1/3 innings of work.
Williams started for the Jackets by pitching 6 and 1/3 innings and striking out three along with six hits and two walks. Andrew Morris went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, while Caldwell finished 2-for-4 with a two-run double and a run scored. Deems finished 2-for-5 as well.
Rockmart was set to host Paulding County on Monday, March 8, before hosting Rome High on Wednesday. The Jackets complete a week long homestand Friday with a 6 p.m. game against Heard County, the team’s final non-region game on the schedule.
Cedartown dives into Region 7-4A competition this week, visiting Ridgeland on Tuesday, March 9, before hosting the Panthers for a doubleheader on Friday starting at 5:30 p.m.