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Canes ride unbeaten start into the Perfect Game High School Showdown

February 27, 2024

Canes head baseball coach, Kyle Tucker.

The Cartersville Purple Hurricanes (6-0) will participate this week in the 2024 Perfect Game High School Showdown in Hoover, Alabama.

Currently ranked No. 1 in Class 5A in Georgia, the Canes will play in the 16-team Red Bracket with four games over three days — Thursday through Saturday.

Cartersville opens the first round on Thursday at 8 p.m. against the Calera (Ala.) Eagles. The game is slated for Hoover High School.

The outcome of the opening game will determine the Hurricanes second opponent and game time. The first-round winner will play on Friday at 5 p.m. against the Bob Jones (Miss.) / Peachtree Ridge (Suwanee, Ga.) winner. The losers of those first-round games will square off on Friday at 1 p.m.

The tournament semifinals and championship games are scheduled for 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Hoover Met Sports Complex on Fields 2 and 3.

If knocked out of the championship bracket, all teams will receive a four-game slate at the event with consolation games. Those game times and field locations will be determined.

Other teams in the Red Bracket include Providence School (Jacksonville, Fla.), Grissom (Huntsville, Ala.), Wesleyan Christian Academy (High Point, NC), Chelsea (Ala.), Thompson (Alabaster, Ala.),  Dublin (Ga.), Hernando (Miss.), Russell County (Seale, Ala.), Pickens County (Jasper, Ga.), Gulf Shores (Ala.), IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), and Barbe (Lake Charles, La.).

Cartersville is the #3 seed in the Red Bracket, behind top-seeded Thompson and Wesleyan Christian Academy -- winners of their sixth state title last year. The Canes are seeded one spot ahead of IMG Academy.  

“It’s the best high school baseball tournament in the country. I don’t think there’s any doubt about it,” said Tucker. “The talent there, the teams, the atmosphere – it’s exciting. It’s kind of like how Omaha is to the College World Series.”

The Cartersville offense has been led by Caleb Daniel’s .625 batting average, team-leading three home runs and 12 runs batted in. Following closely is Cam Cochran, who has the most RBIs at 13 alongside his .471 batting average and a home run.  

Other leaders include leadoff man Luke Miller (.444, team-leading 10 runs scored) and Landon Cole (.438, 8 RBIs, leading with three doubles).  

The defense has been paced by seniors Sawyer Wilson and Ryan Johnson, both 2-0 on the season with eight total innings pitched each. Johnson began the season with three strikeouts on the way to his current 12 while Wilson and Nate Russell have sat down nine batters each. Andrew Purdy has collected two saves.

“Caleb Daniel had one of the best weeks a Cartersville player may have ever had last week,” Tucker added. “He went 8-for-12 in four games with two home runs, a triple, a double, eight RBIs, and scored six runs. That’s video game numbers. Andrew Purdy is doing great in the cleanup role, getting on base.

“On the mound, Ryan has set the tone. Andrew has done well as the closer. Sawyer has already picked up two wins and Logan Shrewsbury is doing well out of the bullpen.” Others have stepped in as steady contributors.

“It’s his first time playing on the varsity, but Aidan Larkin has been tremendous in getting on base and leading us with five stolen bases,” said Tucker. “The hits he wants aren’t there yet, but they’ll come. He’s doing what the number two hitter needs to do.”

The Canes have eight players committed so far to play at the next level with D-I signees Johnson and Daniel (UGA), Purdy (Alabama), Larkin (Kentucky) and Wilson (Kennesaw State) alongside Luke Miller (Columbus State), Dawson Bishop (South Carolina-Lancaster) and Nick Ruby (Bryan College). 

Larkin, the future Wildcat, gives himself and his team a decent grade so far, but with room for improvement.  

“It’s been a fun year. We have great guys,” Larkin said. “Landon Cole has worked really hard to get better. Caleb Daniel has been on fire, too. Luke Miller has been a great leadoff hitter and got bigger in the offseason, more physical at the plate. I feel I’ve done pretty well in getting on base and playing pretty good defense. I’d like to cut down on the strikeouts a little bit, maybe put the ball in play a little more and work it to the opposite field a little better,” Larkin concluded.

"The upcoming tournament finishes off the first third of the season and will be a good measuring stick for this team," added Tucker. 

“We move into our region schedule from there and then, if we do well enough, on to the state tournament. We’ve worked hard these first few weeks, knowing the type of competition we’re going to see in Hoover.”

Editor's note: The final portion of this story was shared from


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