Canes' playoff run ends at Ware County with 4-3 loss


Blake Sutton, Cartersville High School
Blake Sutton delivered a clutch, game-tying hit in the seventh inning Tuesday at Ware County but the Canes ultimately suffered a 4-3 playoff loss to the Gators.

Despite plating a dramatic game-tying run in the top of the seventh inning the Cartersville Purple Hurricanes found themselves on the wrong end of a walk-off, 4-3 loss Tuesday night at Ware County.

The defeat in Game 3 of the best-of-three Class 5A state quarterfinal series brings a close to Cartersville’s playoff run.

The host Gators scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning to take an early 3-0 advantage. Georgia State commit, Caleb Stewart, hit a leadoff solo home run for the first Ware County run. Then a walk, a hit batsmen, and two singles plated two more Gators’ runs.

The Canes got two of those runs back in the next inning when Jake Brasfield blasted a two-run homer to right field.

The score stayed 3-2 until the final inning.

Curt Bonner doubled into left field with one out to get things started for the Hurricanes and Parker McPherson followed with an infield single one out later to put runners on the corners. From there, Blake Sutton came through with a clutch, game-tying ground ball single to the right side that scored Bonner’s courtesy runner, Davis Williams.

In the bottom of the seventh, Carter Barnes led off with a single to right field and moved up to second base on a ground out. Following a strikeout, Lane Steedley knocked a base hit into right field to score Barnes and lift the Gators to a 4-3 win. Landon Dean hurled a complete game on the mound for Ware County. The sophomore right-hander scattered nine hits and two walks across seven innings. He struck out four.

Phillip Schiltz (3 IP, 3ER, 5H, 2BB, 3K) started on the mound for Cartersville with Gunner Millsap (3 IP, 0R, 1H, 1BB) and Colt McKibben (0.2 IP, 1ER, 2H, 1K) working in relief.

Steedley finished with three hits and three RBIs for the Gators. Barnes and Stewart followed with two hits each including the leadoff homer. Noah Hooks added one hit. Sutton (RBI) and McPherson both had two hits to pace the Canes’ offense. Brasfield hit the two-run homer. Bonner had a double. Elliott Eastin, Drew Rothschild, and Colt McKibben contributed one hit each.

Ware County (21-11) advances to the GHSA Class 5A semifinals starting with a doubleheader Saturday at Starr’s Mill. Starr’s Mill advanced Tuesday with a 10-1, Game 3 win at Greenbrier.

The Canes had their 2021 season end with a 27-10 record.

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