After a scorching hot start to regional play, the Bulldogs cooled down a bit in North Georgia last week. The Bulldogs suffered their first league loss in Region 7-4A action, and fell in two of three competitions to Northwest Whitfield.
Tuesday’s competition in Tunnel Hill was this year’s fastest seven innings for Cedartown baseball. The Bulldogs met 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 Southpaw waved 17 Bulldog strokes in seven innings. Eli Barrow, Corben Cuzzort and MJ Holiday were the only Cedartown players to record a 4-0 loss.
Reece Tanner started the series on the mound for Cedartown. The first-year student had a good start before allowing a two-run homer in the second half. He was pulled to the bottom of the fourth after getting a little more trouble when senior Camden Jackson was brought in.
The Bruins added two insurance races that were inning and cruised to the region’s victory. Tanner had four earned races in three hits and three trips, and registered a strike of 3 1/3 laps. Jackson gave only two hits in 2 2/3 rounds in relief.
The Bulldogs were determined to host Northwest Whitfield for a double header at
Cedartown High School on Friday. Unfortunately, Thursday’s storms made a number on the baseball complex, damaging dugouts and netting at CHS.
Instead of postponing the important regional series or deciding to play it in a neutral place, the two sides agreed to meet in Tunnel Hill on Friday night for the last two games between the Bruins and Bulldogs.
Cedartown’s attack started well, as Dylan Cupp scored on a wild course in the first half, and in the second half, Harlem picked up Diamond Denver Nale on a sacrificial fly. Unfortunately for those who took the trip from Polk County, the Bulldog offense slowed down and scored only two races in the last five laps.
Cedartown’s defense also made five errors, with Northwest Whitfield scoring one race in the third, four races in the fifth and three races in the seventh to retire for an 8-4 victory.
Nale was 2-for-4 with one race while Cuzzort was 1-for-3 with one race beaten. Diamond had an RBI, Cupp got a run, and Eli Barrow had one hit in the loss. Cuzzort allowed only one earned race on four hits and two rounds. The senior had three strikes in 4 1/3 rounds.
Jackson hit two innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits and hitting three. Tanner picked up the last two exits, and gave no hits or trips.
Although he had already lost the series, Cedartown head coach Gevin Johnson did a fantastic job of keeping the guys motivated for the still important game 3. The Bulldog offense covered three races in the first half, but the Bruins fought back to take a 6 -3 management in the third round.
Cedartown continued to chip, cutting it to a two-run deficit heading into the seventh inning. When they were down on the last three outs, the Bulldogs got it done. Tanner scored from third on a passed ball to make it 6-5.
Two lanes later, Cuzzort tore a line drive to midfield that scored Cade Dingler and tied it. Cedartown had a chance to win it at the bottom of the seventh, but the Northwest Whitfield defense held strong and forced extra innings.
With two out at the bottom of the ninth frame, Cedartown managed to load the bases. In the most unlikely way, the Bulldogs pulled it off. Faced with a 2-0 score with the chance to end the match, MJ Holiday was hit by a pitch from Asa Cleghorn. The baseless free kick was scored by Eli Barrow from third and gave CHS a 7-6 triumph.
Zane Barrow was 3-for-5 with an RBI while Cuzzort was 2-for-4 with one run and one run turned in. Cade Dingler scored twice in a 1-for-2 day on the plate, Holiday was 1-for-3 with one run and one RBI, and Tanner had one run scored and one run beaten with his 1-on-5 performance. Eli Barrow scored once and Denver Nale drove in the race.
Dingler allowed five earned runs on three hits and three rounds, but the senior knocked out five Bruins in 2 1/3 innings. Holiday hit 2 2/3 laps in relief, knocked out one and allowed a earned run on three trips and one hit. Britt Baxter saw her first appearance of the season, and gave no races on just one hit and three trips in three innings. Dylan Cupp threw the final inning, a three-up-three-down frame.
After their 1-2 week, the Bulldogs were 10-6 overall and 7-2 in regional games. Cedartown is still ranked above Northwest Whitfield (14-4, 7-2) at the moment, but is in second place 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 the Pickens at CHS on Tuesday, but it is uncertain whether the game will be played in Polk County.
The Bulldogs travel to Pickens High School in Jasper for a regional double-header on Friday, with game one starting at 5:30 p.m.