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Canes shutout Oconee County twice to advance in state playoffs

The Cartersville baseball team eliminated Oconee County Wednesday night at Richard Bell Field by blanking the Warriors in a doubleheader sweep, 10-0 and 5-0 in the first round of the Class AAAA state playoffs. Pitchers Mason Barnett and Logan Martin kept Oconee County off the scoreboard with a pair of dominating efforts.

In the opener, Barnett needed only 66 pitches to dispose of the Warriors in five innings. He scattered three hits without a walk and struck out six. Martin had to go seven innings in the nightcap, but also scattered three hits and walk while fanning eleven.

With the two shutouts, Canes' pitchers have now gone six straight games without allowing an earned run.

PHOTOS: Mason Barnett, Logan Martin, Preston Welchel

The Cartersville offense struck early in Game 1 scoring six times in the second inning, three runs in the fourth, and closed out the five inning game with a walk-off single by pinch hitter Chandler Tromza.

The six-run second included back-to-back home runs by Preston Welchel and Barnett. Welchel’s homer was a towering grand slam to right field to give the Canes a 5-0 lead and Barnett hit a solo shot over the left center field wall. J.P. Martin, who was 3-for-3 in Game 1, doubled home three runs in the fourth inning. Luke Dickens (double), Jackson Manders, and Jeff Thurmond had the Warriors three hits in the opening game.

In Game 2, Dickens pitched into the sixth inning and kept the Warriors within striking distance at 1-0 but Cartersville notched four runs in the inning to build some cushion.

Cohen Wilbanks singled to start the inning and was replaced by courtesy runner Davis Williams. Williams moved to third base on a pick-off attempt that resulted in an Oconee throwing error.

Jordan Wilkie followed with an RBI single and J.P. Martin delivered a two-RBI double to give the Canes a 4-0 lead before Brant Smith drove home Martin with an RBI single of his own.

Keanau Legaspi had two of the Warriors’ three hits including a double. Brooks Blizard had the other Oconee County safety. Nine different Canes had one hit each in Game 2 including, Josh Davis, Wilbanks, Barnett, Tromza, Jordan Wilkie, Ian Inaba, J.P. Martin, Smith, and Kolby Adams.

Oconee County’s season ends with a nine game losing streak. The Warriors finish the year 18-13 after an 18-4 start.

Cartersville (26-4) advances to the second round of the state playoffs and will host Flowery Branch. The Falcons swept Heritage-Catoosa in a first round series Wednesday night in Ringgold. The second round best-of-three series begins next Thursday, May 2 with a doubleheader. If a third game is necessary, Cartersville will host it on Friday, May 3. (Times TBA).

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