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Canes sweep into the Final Four

May 5, 2024


Caleb Daniel

Early morning showers delayed the starting time of Saturday’s GHSA Class 5A state quarterfinal doubleheader between Cartersville and Locust Grove at Richard Bell Field by more than three hours. Then a 45-minute lightning delay pushed the second game into early Sunday morning but the Purple Hurricanes pulled out two wins to take the best-of-three series.


Cartersville managed only one hit in the opener but took advantage of nine walks to beat the Wildcats 9-2. In Game 2, timely hitting lifted the Canes into the Final Four for the 13th time since 1999 with a 3-2 victory. The Canes have consecutive sweeps over Chattahoochee, Jefferson, and the Wildcats through the first three rounds of the playoffs.






GAME ONE:  CARTERSVILLE 9, LOCUST GROVE 2


Ryan Johnson

Cartersville pitchers Ryan Johnson and Logan Shrewsbury combined on a one-hitter in the series opener limiting the Locust Grove Wildcats’ bats for a 9-2 win.


Johnson, a University of Georgia signee, struck out eleven. He gave up two runs (only one earned) on one hit and one walk. Shrewsbury closed out a scoreless seventh inning. He walked one and struck out one.


The Canes produced their nine runs on only one hit in the victory. They took advantage of nine walks.


Cartersville took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first on two walks, two balks, and a sacrifice fly by Andrew Purdy.


In the bottom of the third, the Hurricanes added three more runs to their lead on three walks, a hit batsman, and two wild pitches.


Locust Grove narrowed the margin to 5-1 in the top of the sixth. Third baseman Bowen Bradbury doubled and later scored on an outfield error.


The Canes responded with four more runs in the bottom of the sixth to go up 9-1. They took advantage of four walks and their only base hit by Cole Crawford.


The Wildcats added a single run in the top of the seventh but Shrewsbury’s strikeout ended the game.



GAME TWO: CARTERSVILLE 3, LOCUST GROVE 2


Sawyer Wilson

Georgia signee Caleb Daniel produced the Canes’ clutch hit in the top of the seventh to drive home the game-winning run in a 3-2 win that stretched into Sunday morning.


With the game tied 2-2, Aidan Larkin doubled with two outs and scored on the Daniel hit into right field.


The Canes then turned the mound over to Alabama signee Andrew Purdy who worked a 1-2-3 seventh for his ninth save of the season.


Batting first and playing as the visitors, Cartersville led 2-0 through 2-½ innings. Daniel singled and scored in the first and Purdy had a run-producing single in the top of the third.


Locust Groves’ Logan Burrell doubled home a run for the Wildcats in the bottom of the third to cut the Canes’ lead in half.


In the bottom of the sixth, the Wildcats utilized a leadoff walk, a stolen base, and a run-producing single by Liam Collier to knot the score at 2-2.


Sawyer Wilson made the pitching start for Cartersville. He allowed one, unearned run on four hits while striking out nine. Nate Russell (1 IP, 1ER, 1H, 1BB, 2K) picked up the win as the pitcher of record after working the sixth inning on the mound.


Daniel and Purdy had two hits and one RBI each for the Purple Hurricanes. Cole Crawford (double), Larkin (double), and Thomas Peters added one hit.


Locust Grove has its season end with a 22-14 record.


Cartersville (29-5) advances to the Class 5A state semifinals but will be on the road for the first time in the 2024 playoffs. The Canes will play the winner of the best-of-three series between Greater Atlanta Christian (30-4) and Ware County (24-11). The Spartans and Gators split their doubleheader on Saturday and will play a winner-take-all third game on Monday in Waycross. GAC won the first game Saturday 5-1 with Ware County winning the second game 3-0. The state semifinal best-of-three series will be on Friday (doubleheader) and Saturday (if needed).

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