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10U Cartersville Little League claims state title

It took two wins over Smyrna and extra innings in the second game, but Cartersville Little League 10U baseball captured the Georgia Little League State Championship Sunday with a 9-6 win in nine innings.

Cartersville lost to Smyrna on Thursday for their only loss during the double-elimination tournament, but the Canes made their way back through the losers’ bracket for a rematch with Smyrna Little League in the championship round.

With Smyrna remaining unbeaten prior the championship round, Cartersville needed a 10-5 victory Saturday to force Sunday’s decisive game.

Cartersville took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first and expanded their lead to 4-1 in the top of the third, but Smyrna battled back to tie the game 4-4 with three runs in the bottom of the third.

Cartersville took the lead again in the fifth with a single run and Smyrna answered with a run in the bottom of the sixth to send the game to extra innings.

After scoreless seventh and eighth frames, Cartersville struck for four runs in the top of the ninth to take a 9-5 lead. Smyrna scored a run in the bottom of the inning, but a pair of groundouts and a runner picked off at third base thwarted Smyrna’s comeback ideas and secured the state championship for the 10U Canes.

Connor Brasfield picked up the pitching victory for Cartersville by working the final four innings. He allowed only one run on five hits and a walk. Gavin Shrewsbury (4.2 IP, 3R, 1ER, 9H, 0BB, 3K) opened the game on the mound for Cartersville and Joseph Womack (0.1 IP, 1ER, 1H, 0BB) recorded the final out of the fifth inning on the mound.

Cartersville’s three run first inning opened with a leadoff home run to center field by Hayden James. Caleb Daniel followed by drawing a walk and Miles Owen reached on an infield single. After two outs, Ayden Ray singled into left field to drive home Daniel and Turner Abernathy drove home Owen with a single into right field for a 3-0 lead.

In the Canes’ third inning, Owen led off with a single and Shrewsbury was hit by a pitch. Following a groundout force play, Ray singled into center field to load the bases. Abernathy then drove in his second run of the game with an infield hit to third base that plated courtesy runner, Easton Elrod and gave Cartersville a 4-1 lead.

After Smyrna Little League tied the game in the bottom of the third, the two teams played a scoreless fourth.

In the top of the fifth, Cartersville regained the lead, 5-4, on an RBI double to right field by Ray. Brasfield, who scored on the play, was hit by a pitch to start the inning and had moved up to second base on a wild pitch.

Smyrna tied the game again in the bottom of the sixth to send it to extra innings.

The game remained tied 5-5 until the top of the ninth when Cartersville erupted for four runs.

Abernathy led off the Canes’ ninth with his third hit of the game and moved to third on an infield hit by Womack. A throwing error on the play allowed Abernathy to score and Womack moved up to second base.

Elrod followed with a base on balls and Womack scored on a Smyrna wild pitch, for a 7-5 lead.

James drove home Elrod with a productive ground out to second base that gave Cartersville an 8-5 advantage and Owen, who reached base in the ninth with his fourth hit of the game, scored on a wild pitch to make the score, 9-5.

Smyrna threatened in the bottom of the ninth with a run on three hits that included a pair of doubles, but two groundouts and a pick off at third base ended the threat.

Both teams finished the contest with 15 hits.

Owen helped lead Cartersville at the plate with four hits and scored two runs. Ray finished with a 3-for-3 game that included a double and 2 RBI. Abernathy was 3-for-4, scored a run and had 2 RBI.

James (HR and 2 RBI), Daniel, Elrod, Brasfield, and Womack had the other Cartersville base hits.

Smyrna finished the tournament with a 4-2 record. SLL had wins over Peachtree City, Warner Robins American, Washington Wilkes, and Cartersville, before losing back-to-back games to the Canes in the championship round.

In addition to their 2-1 mark in matchups with Smyrna, Cartersville had wins over Northern Little League of Columbus and Oconee County Little League to finish the state tournament with four wins and only one loss.

The Cartersville 9-10 Little League roster: Easton Elrod, Nicholas Hruby, Joseph Womack, Gavin Shrewsbury, Connor Brasfield, Hayden James, Turner Abernathy, Miles Owen, Ayden Ray, Caleb Daniel, Charlie Rothschild, and Coby Barrett. Manager: Richard Daniel. Coaches: JJ James and Joe Owen.

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