Facing some of the top competition in the state and across the Southeast has been a formula for success for Cartersville baseball in recent years, and that blueprint continued for the Hurricanes Saturday at LakePoint as they split a pair of games. The Canes knocked off nationally ranked Blessed Trinity in their first game of the night but were edged by Class 7A Etowah in Game 2.
PHOTO: Canes celebrate their victory over Blessed Trinity Saturday night at LakePoint
CARTERSVILLE 8, BLESSED TRINITY 2
Class AAAA top-ranked Blessed Trinity took an early 2-0 lead on unearned runs in Saturday’s opener, but Cartersville responded with eight unanswered runs down the stretch for an 8-2 win.
Canes’ pitchers Mason Barnett (5 IP, 2R, 0ER, 2H, 1BB, 8K) and Gage Morris (2 IP, 0R, 2H, 0BB, 2K) combined for a four-hitter, no earned runs, and ten strikeouts.
J.P. Martin smacked a three-run home run in the sixth inning and had four RBI in the game. Brant Smith had a double, a sacrifice fly, and three RBI. Jordan Wilkie (RBI) and Ian Inaba had the only other Hurricanes’ base hits.
The Canes also took advantage of eight walks by Titans’ pitchers. Preston Welchel, Josh Davis, and Barnett combined to collect seven of those passes. PHOTO: Auburn commit Mason Burnett was the winning pitcher Saturday vs. Blessed Trinity.
Ryan Davis had two of Blessed Trinity’s four hits including a triple as the Titans — ranked No. 5 nationally by Perfect Game USA — lost for the first time this season and slipped to 4-1.
ETOWAH 5, CARTERSVILLE 4 Cartersville started fast in the nightcap against Etowah, but ultimately lost for the first time this season. The Canes scored three runs in the top of the first inning off a double by Jordan Wilkie and triples by Preston Welchel and J.P. Martin.
As a result, Cartersville starting pitcher Cohen Wilbanks took the mound with a 3-0 lead.
Two hits, a pair of walks, and a passed ball resulted in two runs for Etowah in the bottom of the first inning to get the Eagles right back into the game.
Preston Welchel tripled with two outs in the third inning and scored on a wild pitch to give the Canes a 4-2 lead in the top of the third, but would be the final run of the night for Cartersville. Wilbanks (2 IP, 2R, 1ER, 5H, 2BB, 0K) gave way to Logan Martin in the third inning who worked two innings of his own.
A two-run double by Etowah’s Michael Sharman tied the game 4-4 in the bottom of the fourth with the key hit coming on the heels of three walks in the inning. Davis Williams (2 IP, 1ER, 3H, 1BB, 1K) took the mound for the Canes in the fifth inning and ultimately suffered the pitching loss. He worked a scoreless fifth inning, but the Eagles pushed across the game-winning run in the sixth.
Etowah’s Cole Ellis tripled with one out in the bottom of the sixth and then scored on a subsequent single to centerfield by Michael Sharman for a 5-4 lead. Eagles’ winning pitcher, Ryan Lobus (3 IP, 0R, 2H, 0BB, 3K), put the Canes down in order in the top of the seventh to preserve the one-run win. Jacob Fletcher (2 IP, 3ER, 4H, 1BB, 2K) started on the bump for Etowah with Dean O’Brien (2 IP, 1ER, 1H, 2BB, 2K) working the middle innings.
Cole Ellis, Nick Block, and Sharman combined for eight hits and four RBI to pace the Eagles’ offense as Etowah improved to 4-2 on the season.
Welchel led Cartersville in the nightcap with three hits including a pair of triples and one RBI. Martin (triple, RBI), Wilkie (double, RBI), Ian Inaba, and Kolby Adams added one hit each.
Cartersville (2-1) will look to bounce back at Villa Rica Monday at 5:55 p.m. and will travel to Sprayberry on Wednesday for a 5:55 p.m. first pitch. Those games prelude next weekend’s three games in the Toyo Tires Battle for Bartow Baseball Classic at Lakepoint on Friday and Saturday.