Purple Hurricanes open PG Showdown with shutout of Bob Jones

Cartersville pitchers Mason Barnett and Gage Morris combined for a four-hit shutout Thursday night as the Hurricanes defeated Bob Jones (AL) 2-0 at the Perfect Game High School Showdown in Hoover, Alabama. Barnett (photo) tossed five innings, scattered four hits and two walks, while striking out six in a head-to-head battle with fellow Auburn University signee, Cam Hill.

Morris, the Canes’ reliever and recent LaGrange College signee, needed only four pitches to get three pop up outs for a scoreless sixth and induced two more pop ups and a strikeout in the seventh inning to preserve the shutout.

Hill (5 IP, 2ER, 3H, 1BB, 9K) and his reliever Andrew Wright (1 IP, 0R, 0H, 1BB) were almost as effective in a classic high school pitchers’ duel. Preston Welchel got the Canes started offensively with a second inning solo home run over the right field wall. Then with Cartersville leading 1-0 in the third, Kolby Adams singled to left field and later took advantage of a wild pitch and a catcher throwing error to plate the only other run in the game.

Cartersville loaded the bases with only one out in the sixth inning, but Wright got the Patriots out of the jam by inducing a ground ball double play. The Canes’ shutout didn’t occur without some drama. Barnett pitched through some tough situations and received help from his defense throughout the night.

The Patriots got a runner to third in the second inning, but the Canes’ right-hander got a fly out to end the threat. Bob Jones also had a baserunner cut down at the plate on a two-out hit in the third inning. First baseman J.P. Martin had the assist with catcher Cohen Wilbanks applying the tag to negate a run. Bob Jones threatened again in the fifth inning against Barnett. A walk followed by a passed ball and a wild pitch put Logan Hittle at third. Caden Rose walked to put runners on the corners, but Barnett induced a groundout to first to keep the Patriots off the scoreboard. Bob Jones (7-3) is the No. 2 team in Alabama's Class 7A and was ranked 43rd nationally by Perfect Game entering the tournament. The Patriots finished Thursday with a split of two games. Thy beat Sumrall (MS) 3-1 earlier in the day.

Cartersville (8-1) plays Sumrall at 3:30 p.m. Friday with single-elimination bracket play for the tournament starting Friday night.

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Cartersville, Georgia