Class 4A third-ranked Cartersville lost a five run lead late in the game, but edged Class 6A top-ranked River Ridge Saturday 9-8 in extra innings to win the Canes’ first game of the day at Forsyth Central High School in Cumming.
River Ridge scored three runs in the bottom of the first to take a 3-0 lead before Cartersville took advantage of six Knights’ errors, a walk, and a hit batsman to score eight runs in the top of the third inning. Mason Barnett had a hit in the inning and Devin Warner doubled home two of the eight runs for an 8-3 lead.
River Ridge (6-2) added a single run in the sixth inning before tying the game with a four-run seventh.
In the top of the eighth inning, Jake Gooch singled and J.P. Martin doubled to put two runners in scoring position with two outs. Curtis Wilkes was inserted as a courtesy runner for Gooch and scored on a wild pitch that gave the Canes the game-winning run.
Levi Ayers (1.2 IP, 2ER, 3H, 1BB, 3K) picked up the pitching win for Cartersville by working a scoreless eighth inning. Martin (0.1 IP, 3ER, 1H, 3BB), Gage Morris (5.2 IP, 1R, 0ER, 2H, 0BB, 4K), and Cohen Wilbanks (0.1 IP, 2ER, 0H, 2BB, 1K) also took the mound against the Knights.
Devin Warner had two hits including a double and two RBI. Anthony Seigler, Barnett, Gooch, Martin (double), Brant Smith, and Garrett Shelton added one hit each for the Hurricanes. Josh Davis added a pair of RBI.
CARTERSVILLE 5, FORSYTH CENTRAL 4
Devin Warner singled on the first pitch of his at bat in the bottom of the seventh inning Saturday night to drive home the game winning run in walk-off fashion as Cartersville won at Forsyth Central, 5-4.
The dramatic hit was set up by walks to Preston Welchel and Ian Inaba, followed by a game-tying RBI single by Mason Barnett. Cartersville trailed the Bulldogs 4-3 going into the bottom of the seventh.
Forsyth Central led 2-0 with single runs in their half of the third and fourth innings.
Cartersville tied the game 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth on a two-RBI double by J.P. Martin.
The Canes took their first lead in the sixth when Warner reached on an error, advanced to third with two outs, and scored on a passed ball for a Cartersville 3-2 lead. Josh Davis had a bunt single in the inning.
The Bulldogs took a 4-3 lead in the top of the seventh on a walk and three errors in the frame, but the Canes’ bats came to the rescue in the bottom of the inning.
Barnett, who was on the hook for the pitching loss when the Canes fell behind late on the two unearned runs, picked up the win as the fourth Cartersville pitcher of the game. Levi Ayers (3 IP, 1ER, 4H, 4K), Cohen Wilbanks (1 IP, 1ER, 1H, 1K), and Curtis Wilkes (2 IP, 0R, 0H, 3K) also pitched.
Jake Gooch and Barnett (RBI) finished with two hits in the game. Martin (2 RBI), Wilkie, Davis, and Warner (GW-RBI) had one hit each for the Canes.
Five different Bulldogs (9-2) had one hit each including doubles by Jacob Holton and A.J. Feichter.
Cartersville (8-3) will open play Thursday in the 2018 Perfect Game High School Showdown at LakePoint in Emerson. The Canes will play Seminary (Louisiana) in the first round at 8:30 p.m.
The Hurricanes will play four games during the three-day event. The championship is a 16-team, single-elimination bracket with consolation games for teams not reaching the finals.