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Wildcats and Canes advance to the Sweet Sixteen; Tigers and Colonels lose in first round

April 23, 2024

Ayden Ray earned a save in both of Woodland's wins over Cambridge Tuesday night in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.

Tuesday night’s first-round action in the GHSA baseball state playoffs saw two local teams sweep doubleheaders to advance to the second round while two teams were eliminated.


A wild first inning settled into more of a matchup of pitchers in the middle innings Tuesday night in the first game of the Canes’ and Cougars’ first-round best-of-three state playoff series.

Chattahoochee mixed in four hits with a walk, a hit batsman, and two Canes’ errors to grab a 6-0 lead in the top of the first inning but Cartersville responded quickly.

In the bottom of the first, the Hurricanes posted six runs of their own. 

Tristan McKibben

Caleb Daniel and Cole Crawford hit two-run homers and Tristan McKibben provided a run-scoring single in a five-hit frame.

In the second inning, Luke Miller scored on Daniel’s double for a 7-6 Cartersville lead. One out later, Daniel scored when Cameron Cochran reached on a Cougars’ error. 

Up 8-6, Canes’ pitcher Sawyer Wilson settled in to earn the win. He worked into the sixth inning allowing seven runs (three earned) on 10 hits and one walk. Wilson fanned eight. Andrew Purdy took the mound to retire the final four outs by strikeout in the sixth and seventh innings.

Miller finished with three hits in the leadoff spot including a double. Daniel had three RBIs with a homer and a double. Cochran (RBI), Purdy, McKibben (RBI), Crawford (two-run HR), Julez Pratt (RBI), and Thomas Peters added one hit as the Canes totaled eleven safeties.


Tristan McKibben, Cole Crawford, and Cameron Cochran combined for six of the Canes’ seven hits; three RBIs; and three of the team’s five runs to help lead Cartersville to a 5-2 win and a series sweep of Chattahoochee.

With two hits and one RBI each, the five-, seven-, and eight-hole hitters accounted for most of the Canes’ offense in the series-clinching win. Andrew Purdy added a hit and one RBI.

Cole Crawford

Crawford started the Canes’ third inning with a solo home run. Purdy and Cochran added RBI hits later in the frame. 

Aidan Larkin drove in a run with a sac fly in the fourth inning and McKibben added the Hurricanes’ fifth run in the fifth with a run-producing single.

Nate Russell went five innings to secure the pitching win. He allowed one earned run on four hits and two walks. Russell struck out seven. Logan Shrewsbury retired the final six outs on the mound. He allowed one, unearned run on one hit with no walks and three strikeouts.

The Cougars finish their year with an 11-19 mark.

No. 1-ranked Cartersville (25-5) will host a Sweet Sixteen round best-of-three series beginning on Monday against Jefferson. The Dragons swept Midtown in the first round. Cartersville reaches the Sweet Sixteen for the sixth consecutive season and the 27th time in the last 28 seasons.



Zach Lambert

Woodland pitchers Zach Lambert and Ayden Ray combined for a dozen strikeouts and limited the visiting Bears to a single run in the top of the seventh inning to win the first game of their best-of-three series, 2-1.

The game went 4-½ innings scoreless before Wildcats’ courtesy runner Jonathan Ryan scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the fifth and Connor Stermer singled home Jake Clowers’ courtesy runner — Austin Daves — in the bottom of the sixth for a 2-0 lead.

The Bears scored a run in the top of the seventh on a pair of singles and had the potential tying runner at third base when Ray recorded his second strikeout of the final frame to end the game. 

Stermer had two of Woodland’s three hits in the opener. Clowers had the other single.


Trailing 5-1 heading to their final at-bat in Game Two, the Wildcats rallied for a 6-5 win and won their first-round series with Cambridge.

Lucas Baker

Playing as the visiting team in the nightcap, Woodland loaded the bases with three walks in the top of the seventh inning. After two outs, Jonathan Ryan scored on a wild pitch and Logan Bentley singled home a run with an infield hit to cut the Bears’ lead to 5-3. A walk to the next batter loaded the bases again to set up a bases-clearing three-run triple by Lucas Baker.

Ayden Ray took the mound for the Wildcats in the bottom of the seventh and struck out two in a scoreless frame to earn his second save of the night.

Baker collected the pitching win by retiring the final two outs in the sixth. Austin Daves (4 IP, 4ER, 4H, 1BB, 1K) made the Wildcats’ start and JD Trail (1.1 IP, 1ER, 1H, 3BB) also pitched in relief.

Ray (double) had two hits in Game Two. Baker (triple, three RBIs), Jake Clowers (RBI), Mason Williams, and Bentley (RBI) added one hit.

The Bears’ season ends with a 16-16 record.

Woodland (17-13) advances to the Sweet Sixteen round next Monday and Tuesday for a best-of-three series at Region 8-5A champion Loganville. 

GAME ONE: PICKENS 10, ADAIRSVILLE 2 The 2nd-ranked Dragons started quickly and rattled off 13 hits Tuesday night in the first game of their best-of-three first-round state playoff series to beat visiting Adairsville, 10-2.

Pickens scored at least one run in five of their six offensive frames. The Dragons led 5-0 through two innings and never trailed. 

Peyton Bowen singled home an Adairsville run in the top of the third inning and the Tigers scored a second run in the top of the fourth on a fielder’s choice bunt after loading the bases.

McCayden Hufstetler (1 IP, 4R, 0ER, 4H, 1BB) made the pitching start for Adairsville and was saddled with the loss. Hudson Parr (5 IP, 6R, 4ER, 9H, 1BB, 1K) entered in the second inning and finished the game on the mound for the Tigers.

Jack Nelson (double), Ryan Farr (double), Hayden Blalock (RBI), Landon O’Neal, Jarrett Scott, and Bowen (RBI) contributed one hit each for Adairsville.


The Tigers carried a 4-3 lead to the seventh inning in the second game Tuesday night in Jasper but the Dragons pushed across a run in the seventh to send the game to extra innings and scored the deciding run in the eighth.

Playing as the home team in Game Two, Adairsville trailed 3-0 early before P.J. Weeks singled home two runs in the bottom of the second inning. The Tigers took a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning on an RBI single by Jarrett Scott and an RBI double by Jack Nelson.

Nelson (6.1 IP, 3ER, 4H, 6BB, 6K) started on the mound for Adairsville and pitched into the seventh inning. Ryan Farr (1 IP, 2R, 0ER, 1H, 1BB) was charged with the tough-luck loss but both runs against him were unearned. Kaiden Coker (0.2 IP, 1BB) retired the final two outs in the eighth inning.

Scott and Nelson produced two hits and one RBI for the Tigers. Weeks (two RBIs), Farr, and Harrison Cole added one hit. 

The Dragons (27-5) advance to the Sweet Sixteen round and will host a best-of-three series with Hebron Christian beginning next Monday.

Adairsville has its year end with a 15-11 mark.


The Colonels scored twice in the top of the first inning for an early 2-0 lead but the host Longhorns answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning and held the lead the rest of the way in the first game of this first round, best-of-three series.

Kell added single runs in the fourth and fifth innings to build a 5-2 advantage. Cass scored a run in the top of the seventh on hits by Chase Tatum and Hunter Lovett, but the late threat ended with a pop-out.

The Colonels outhit the Longhorns nine to six but came up short on the scoreboard.

Lovett (4 IP, 4ER, 5H, 1BB, 4K) suffered the pitching loss. J Peace (2 IP, 1ER, 1H) retired the final six outs for Cass.

Tatum (two doubles) and Lovett (RBI) had two hits for the Colonels’ offense. Connor Jenkins (RBI), Trenton Payne, Caleb Freeman, and Landon Lamb added one hit.


The 10th-ranked Longhorns dominated the second game of Tuesday night’s doubleheader and completed a first-round playoff sweep of visiting Cass with a 17-1 win.

Kell plated eight runs in the second inning to build a 9-0 lead and cruised to a five-inning victory.

The Colonels managed only one hit in the contest — a fifth-inning single by Connor Jenkins.

Kell pitchers David McKechnie and Cooper Moreno combined for seven strikeouts.

The Longhorns improved to 22-10 and will advance to the Class 5A Sweet Sixteen round where they will host Eastside or visit 3rd-ranked Villa Rica. Those two teams split their doubleheader on Tuesday and will play a deciding third game on Wednesday.

The Colonels’ season ends with a 13-18 record.


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