Cedartown got support from two solid outings on the mound to help boost the Bulldogs into the state quarterfinals for the second year in a row as they swept Cairo in the Class 4A Sweet 16 on Tuesday.

Jay O’Neal tossed a no-hitter in Game 1 before a complete-game victory from MJ Holiday in the finale helped seal the series win.

The doubleheader opener was nearly over before it had a chance to begin as CHS dropped a four-spot in the first inning and added another run in the third to control a 5-0 lead.

The Bulldogs proceeded to plate four more runs in the sixth and coasted to a 9-0 victory. Cedartown totaled ten hits in the second-round showdown, while strong pitching and defense allowed just two Syrupmakers to reach base.

Cole Dingler was 3-for-3 with two doubles, three RBI, and three runs scored while Reece Tanner went 2-for-3 with a double, two runs, and one run batted in. Tony Ware also had a multi-hit game, as the outfielder finished 3-for-4 with four RBI. Dylan Cupp (1-4) and O’Neal (1-4) earned base-hits in the victory and, although he was hitless, Xavier Holiday touched home plate once.

Freshman ace O’Neal tallied the second no-hitter of his rookie campaign. The South Carolina commit went the full seven innings, giving up just two walks and striking out ten batters.

Bulldogs sweep Cairo to earn a trip to the Elite Eight

Cedartown’s Cole Dingler stretches to make a catch at first for an out during Game 1 against Cairo in the second-round state playoff series at Cedartown High School on Tuesday, May 3.

Cedartown’s offense picked up where it left off in Game 2 of the doubleheader. The Bulldogs scored six runs in the first three innings and led 6-1 entering the fourth. A plethora of base runners reached in the later innings, giving way to an 11-1 triumph for the Red-and-Black and allowing for a sweep of Cairo.

Dingler stayed hot in the finale, going 3-for-5 with a double, a triple, three runs batted in, and two runs scored. Denver Nale (2-4, R) and Cupp (2-3, 2 R, RBI) had two hits each while Eli Barrow (1-4, 2B, 3 RBI), Britt Baxter (1-4), MJ Holiday (1-4, RBI), Xavier Holiday (1-3, 2 R), and Tanner (1-4, 2 R, RBI) reached safely. Ware did not record a hit in the ten-run win but did drive in one run on a sacrifice fly.

For the second year in a row, MJ Hoilday was on the mound as the Bulldogs punched their ticket to the Elite 8. The senior right-hander picked up a complete-game victory, as Cairo managed just one unearned run on two hits and two walks. Holiday rang up eight batters in Tuesday’s second game.

After holding Cairo (18-11), who had been averaging 6.6 runs per game, to one total run in 14 innings, Cedartown (24-9) moves to the GHSA Class 4A State Quarterfinals for the second time in as many years. The Bulldogs will tangle with Perry (26-9), the Region 4-4A champions, in the Elite 8.

CHS is not the only team from Region 7-4A still alive in the playoffs. The region’s four-seed, Heritage-Catoosa, continued their Cinderella run by sweeping Bainbridge on the road. The Generals will travel to LaGrange in the next round. The other Region 7-4A playoff teams fell in the second round, as Pickens was swept by Thomas County Central and Northwest Whitfield lost the deciding Game 3 at Benedictine.

The GHSA conducted a universal coin flip which ruled that Perry would host the third-round series. A doubleheader was scheduled to be played in Houston County on Monday, and the if-needed Game 3 would take place Tuesday.

Monday’s doubleheader at Perry High School will start at 4 p.m. Fans unable to make it to those games in middle Georgia can tune into WGAA Radio’s broadcasts over the air or on the NFHS Network.

Bulldogs sweep Cairo to earn a trip to the Elite Eight

Cedartown head baseball coach Gevin Johnson (right) talks with the chief umpire during the pre-gam meeting before Game 1 against Cairo in the second-round state playoff series at Cedartown High School on Tuesday, May 3.


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