Canes walk away with second straight Battle for Bartow Baseball Classic title
It was an unexpected way for the championship game to end, but the Hurricanes will take it in a 1-0 win over Region 5-AAAA rival Cedartown to capture the 2020 Battle for Bartow Baseball Classic title.
After strong pitching by both teams sent the game to the final half inning tied 0-0, Cartersville took advantage of four consecutive walks — including a walk-off walk to Hank Smith with the bases loaded — to win the tournament at LakePoint for the second straight year.
Cedartown starting pitcher Reece Tanner tossed six shutout innings before leaving after 96 pitches. Tanner scattered four walks and two hits while striking out one.
Cartersville starter Mason McBee was just as effective on the mound but left after six innings with a no-decision. McBee gave up only one hit with no walks and struck out six.
Silas Freeman picked up the pitching win for Cartersville by working a scoreless seventh inning. He needed only twelve pitches to retire the side and struck out one. Matthew Henslee entered in the bottom of the seventh for Cedartown and was ultimately tagged with the pitching loss. Henslee walked both batters he faced and was removed for Dylan Cupp. Cupp, who had been the Bulldogs’ shortstop until called in to pitch, then walked the two batters he faced with the second walk pushing across the game-deciding run.
There were only three hits in the contest.
Zane Barrow had a double for the only Cedartown base hit. Ben Williams and Clay Ross had the only Cartersville hits.
Cedartown finished as tournament runner-up for the second straight year. The Bulldogs had tournament wins over Woodland and Rome to go 2-1 in the event. The title game loss drops their season mark to 4-5. Cartersville has now won four straight including all three games in the tournament. The Canes defeated Riverside (Greer, SC) 2-1 and Cass 12-2 to reach the championship game. Chandler Tromza was selected the tournament's Most Outstanding Hitter. The Canes' first baseman batted .667 with a double and two runs scored. His on-base percentage for the tournament was .778. Micah Earwood was named Most Outstanding Pitcher with a complete-game win that included no earned runs on three hits and a walk. He struck out nine.
Also named to the All-Tournament Team for Cartersville were Ben Williams, Clay Ross, and Sam Melton. The Hurricanes (5-3) will now prepare for the Perfect Game High School Showdown Thursday through Saturday in Hoover, Alabama where they will play four games, weather permitting. Cartersville is assigned to Pool White C and will play Helena (Alabama) and Houston County (Georgia) Thursday night and Friday afternoon before starting bracket play Friday night.