Canes vs. Dodge in Elite 8 contest
by David Royal
May 14, 2013 | 994 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cartersville will be looking to take another big step in the state high school baseball playoffs today, when it visits Eastman to play Dodge County in their best-of-three series that will determine who advances past the Elite 8 round.

The Purple Hurricanes will meet the Indians at 3 p.m. in the first game, with a 5:30 p.m. start expected for the second game.

The two teams would meet Wednesday at 3 p.m. in a game three if it is necessary.

The Canes will try to take the lessons they’ve learned this season and apply them toward defeating an Elite 8 team.

“They swing [the bat] good and they play good defense,” Chester said of Dodge County. “They are real tough at home.”

He said the Canes will use their same approach on the mound. “Our pitching is our same old philosophy, throw strikes and let’s try to play defense.”

The Canes have learned a lot about themselves during the season. “The last series spoke a lot for our experience and guts. Losing the first game and winning the second in the ninth inning and the third in the seventh inning takes poise and character. You have to have a lot of guts. We try not to get too high or get too low. It’s a seven-inning game for a reason.”

Chester said the Canes drew on the lessons they learned all season in the playoffs against Woodward Academy.

“I think you have to draw from your Parkview series, your Florida trip, your Collins Hill and your Brookwood series,” he said. “I think they help you prepare for situations like that.”

The Cane mentor said he wants his players to be comfortable in knowing what they can do, but not be too comfortable.

“I want there to be an uneasiness in the fact we have something ahead of us,” he said. I think they are probably more comfortable now that we’ve got the lineup set, know who’s playing where and they’re kind of adjusted to some of the questions we’ve answered all year long. We’ve been answering questions for 26 ball games.

“But I still see the uneasiness in them, like ‘Open the gate and let’s go.’”

It is the sixth consecutive time Cartersville has made the Elite 8 round of the state playoffs, starting in 2008 when the Canes bested Columbus in their series. The Canes went on to win the first of two state championships that year.

The Indians, like the Canes, are no strangers to the playoffs but have been regulars the past few years in the AA state playoffs. They moved up this season to AAA and have been taking their foes in stride.

Dodge County has been quite productive at the plate during the regular season.

The Indians, who finished 19-10 overall, 10-1 in Region 3-AAA, averaged scoring eight runs per game while allowing three.

Cartersville, which is 24-7 overall, 14-0 in Region 5-AAA, sent seven runners around home plate per outing while surrendering two runs.

To reach the Elite 8, the Indians swept Central Macon in the first round and defeated Callaway, 2-1, in the Sweet 16 round. Their run total has racheted up in the playoffs, as the Indians clobbered Central Macon 17-5 and 15-1. It lost its first game to Callaway, 4-2, but came back to pound it 14-2 and 12-3.

Among their pitchers are Lance Pruett, Aron Chick, Slade Yawn and Jordan Smith. Hitting chores are shouldered by Smith, Pruett, Josh Perdue, Chick and Yawn.

The Canes defeated Morgan County, 8-3, 3-0. It lost to Woodward Academy, 4-1, in the first game, but stormed back to win by 7-3 and 4-3 margins.

Cartersville also has a number of arms carrying the pitching load, include Hayes Linn, Connor Justus, Garrett Rutledge and Hunter Osborn.

The Canes draw their offense from players such as Tripp Jamieson, Drew Lawson, Justus, Linn and Austin Adams. Cartersville also relies on Mark Quattlebaum for speed as a courtesy/pinch runner and others.