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Hurricanes sweep Apalachee, advance to Class 5A state championship series

Blake Sutton (photo) and Harrison Childers both had five hits in Saturday's state semifinal series sweep of Apalachee.

The No. 1 ranked Cartersville Purple Hurricanes finished off their Class 5A state semifinal series Saturday night by completing a doubleheader sweep of visiting Apalachee at Richard Bell Field. The locals won the opening game 3-2 and secured the second game with an 11-8 victory.

Cartersville (31-6) advances to the baseball program’s tenth state championship series since 2001 next Saturday (if needed game Monday, May 23) at the Rome Braves’ AdventHealth Stadium. Cartersville will be seeking a seventh state title in school history against 3rd-ranked Loganville.

Loganville (30-8) defeated Decatur in two straight games Saturday in the other state semifinal.

Cartersville took an early 6-0 lead midway through the third inning of the series-deciding game Saturday night.

Drew Rothschild doubled home the Canes first run in the top of the first. Jake Brasfield, Curt Bonner, and Caleb Daniel all produced RBI hits in the second and Blake Sutton singled home two more runs in the third.

Apalachee narrowed the lead to 6-4 with three runs in the bottom of the third and one more in the six. Traver Park singled home Zack Bowman who had tripled to open the frame. Colby Sikes then followed with a two-run homer. In the sixth, Park drove in Bowman with another hit.

The Canes appeared to seal the win with a five-run seventh.

Harrison Childers doubled and scored on a home run by Jacob Ray that made the score 8-4. A single by Sutton, an infield error, and a walk preceded a two-RBI single by Elliott Eastin. That gave Cartersville a 10-4 lead before Daniel added another run with a sacrifice fly.

The Wildcats did not go away easily however.

Apalachee sent nine men to the plate in the bottom of the seventh and had the potential tying run at the plate before Canes’ pitcher Phillip Schiltz ended the threat with a strikeout.

Caden Carroll (5.2 IP, 4ER, 6H, 3BB, 5K) started and earned the Cartersville pitching win. Schiltz (1.1 IP, 4R, 1ER, 4H, 2BB, 3K), who got the win in Game 1, retired the final four outs of Game 2.

The Hurricanes finished with fourteen hits in Game 2.

Childers had three hits including a pair of doubles. Sutton also totaled three hits. Ray produced two hits including his two-run homer. Rothschild also produced two hits including a double and one RBI. Eastin (2 RBIs), Daniel (2 RBIs), Bonner (RBI), and Brasfield (triple) added one hit each.


Cartersville won the opening game when pinch runner Miles Owen scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning.

The extra inning, walk-off run was the result of Blake Sutton’s leadoff double and an ensuing sacrifice bunt by Jake Brasfield. Owen was inserted as a runner for Sutton after his safety. With a 1-0 count to batter Elliott Eastin, the pitch went to the backstop allowing Owen to cross with the game-winner and a 3-2 final score.

Apalachee took a 2-0 lead on a two-out, two-run single by Ethan Middlebrooks in the top of the third inning.

Cartersville tied the score 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth.

Hank Smith walked to open the Canes’ fourth and Paul Gamble was entered as the catcher’s courtesy runner. Harrison Childers then reached on an infield error with Gamble moving up ninety feet. Blake Sutton singled to load the bases and Jake Brasfield followed with an RBI single into left field that kept the bases loaded. The Canes’ second run crossed when Curt Bonner was hit by a pitch.

Manning West (7.2 IP, 3R, 2ER, 7H, 3BB, 7K) was the hard luck losing pitcher for the Wildcats. He went the distance scattering seven hits and three walks. He struck out seven.

Phillip Schiltz (2 IP, 0R, 1H, 0BB, 2K) worked two scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth to collect the Cartersville pitching victory. He allowed just one hit and struck out two.

Ryan Johnson (2.2 IP, 2ER, 4H, 2BB, 2K) started on the mound for the Hurricanes and Geoffrey Gore (3.1 IP, 0R, 2H, 0BB, 3K) kept the Wildcats off the scoreboard for 3-1/3 innings of middle relief.

Middlebrooks, Traver Park, and Ashton Sapp had two hits each to lead the Apalachee offense.

Childers and Sutton paced the Canes with two hits apiece including one double each. Bonner (RBI), Caleb Daniel, and Brasfield (RBI) had the other Cartersville base hits.


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