Coosa's Trent Cantrell vs. Lovett

Coosa’s Trent Cantrell slides into third base during Game 1 of the Eagles’ first-round series at Lovett on Thursday. Coosa fell to Lovett 10-3 in the decisive Game 3 Friday.

The Coosa Eagles and the Darlington Tigers saw their 2021 campaigns come to a close Friday in winner-take-all Game 3 action in the opening round of the Georgia High School Association baseball state playoffs.

Lovett 9, Coosa 3

The Coosa Eagles’ state playoff run ended Friday in Atlanta as the Lovett Lions emerged victorious in the decisive Game 3, 9-3.

The Eagles opened the scoring in the top of the first when Hayden McBurnett hit a two-run single, scoring Gavin East and Pacey Smith.

However, the Lions came roaring back, striking for two in the bottom half of the first and four in the second.

Trent Cantrell picked up an RBI on a groundout which plated Bryson Thacker to cut the Lovett lead to 6-3, but the Lions added a run in the fourth, fifth and sixth to pull away and ultimately move on to the Sweet 16.

The Eagles used five pitchers over six innings of work, but Eagles head coach Michael Dougherty said in a text message his pitching staff couldn’t keep the Lions off-balance enough over the course of Game 3.

Coosa’s final record for 2021 enters the books at 19-13 overall.

“Played a good ball game,” Dougherty said via text message. “Tip your hat to Lovett they swung it well tonight. Most of our team are underclassmen. Lot of talent and experience returning next year. Future is bright for Coosa baseball.”

Fellowship Christian 6, Darlington 5

The Tigers’ season came to an end in heartbreaking fashion, falling 6-5 at Fellowship Christian on a walkoff in the bottom of seventh inning.

Entering the bottom of the seventh, the Tigers held a 5-2 edge, but could not hold off the Paladins as they advanced on to the Class A-Private Sweet 16.

Offensively, Aiden Cloud led the way, going 2-for-4 and scoring a run. Jackson Norris was 1-for-4 with an RBI, and Logan Floyd and Talan Shirey each plated a run on sacrifice flies.

Pitching-wise, Caleb Butler got the game three nod, going six innings allowing five hits, four runs (all earned), seven walks and two strikeouts.

Cloud came into pitch in the seventh and recorded one out while conceding two hits, two runs (both unearned) with a walk and a punchout.

Darlington trailed 2-0 before plating four runs in the fifth and an additional insurance run in the top half of the seventh frame.

Darlington’s final record is 13-12-1.

“This was one of the hardest fought games to be a part of,” Tigers head coach Matt Larry said in an emailed statement. “Caleb had an outstanding outing keeping their guys off balance. Sad to see the season end the way it did. So heartbroken for these 9 seniors who made so many sacrifices. This was undoubtedly one of the best groups of guys that has come through Darlington. Super proud of the effort and extremely proud of these players this season.”

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