Welchel's walk-off blast lifts Canes

A high school pitcher’s duel ended with fireworks Wednesday when Canes’ centerfielder Preston Welchel smacked a two-run, walk-off home run over the centerfield wall to lift Cartersville to a come-from-behind 2-1 win over visiting LaGrange. Photo: Hurricanes celebrate with Welchel at home plate following his game-winning home run. After six scoreless innings, LaGrange took a 1-0 lead in the top of the seventh inning off Canes’ ace Mason Barnett when Cole Crawford singled home Trent Bailey who had led off the inning with a hit of his own. There was a walk to Charles Crawford sandwiched in between.

Barnett (photo right, #18) fanned the next batter on four pitches to end the inning and the Hurricanes responded in their half of the seventh. Josh Davis walked to start the Canes’ seventh, Cohen Wilbanks laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Davis into scoring position, and Welchel hit a 1-0 pitch over the purple wall at Richard Bell Field for the dramatic win. Barnett (7 IP, 1ER, 3H, 3BB, 13K) collected the pitching win with a complete-game effort the took 101 pitches. The Auburn-signee was in the strike zone with almost 69 percent of his pitches. Matthew Morgan (6.1 IP, 2ER, 6H, 5BB, 3K) was the hard-luck losing pitcher for the Grangers. The home run by Welchel (photo, #27) capped a perfect night at the plate. He finished 2-for-2 with a double and two walks. Barnett had two hits including a double. Davis finished with two hits for the Canes.

The loss drops LaGrange to 5-13-1 on the season and 0-2 in Region 5-AAAA. Second-ranked Cartersville (13-3, 2-0) plays at Central-Carroll Friday at 5:55 p.m. and will host the Lions Monday at Richard Bell Field.

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Cartersville, Georgia