Tigers make corrections, get back to winning ways vs. Calhoun
by Chike Nwakamma
Mar 09, 2011 | 2244 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Adairsville’s Logan Tant tags out Calhoun’s Trent Frix, who tried to turn a single into a double Tuesday but was thrown out by the Tigers’ Michael Gwin. Adairsville won the matchup between the two rivals, 4-1. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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After an outing not indicative of its potential, the Adairsville baseball team returned to the field Tuesday to play one of its most complete wins of the young season, defeating defending Class AA state champion Calhoun in a 4-1 home victory.

Regardless of the win coming against one of their rivals, Tigers coach Eric Bishop was just happy to see his team get back on track following an error-marred loss last Friday.

"This is just one ball game and it was the next ball game we had to play, but the biggest thing I'm proud of is the way our kids responded after Friday's game. It was no big secret we didn't play up to nearly our potential," Bishop said of Adairsville's 10-3 loss to Dade County. "We worked real hard on trying to correct some things, and we went through this ball game [with] neither team making an error.

"I told 'em [the] only outcome I wanted was for them to play well. If they did that, they'd have a chance to win, and that's what happened."

With the game knotted at 1-all in the bottom of the fourth, Tai-Li Martin hit an RBI single up the middle to score Logan Tant, who led off the inning with an infield single for the Tigers. Martin did not get the benefit of a call as he was ruled out at second base trying to stretch his hit into a double.

Trey Gulledge hit behind Martin, coming through with a single as well, but the Yellow Jackets escaped the fourth down 2-1.

Adairsville added two more runs in the fifth after the first three batters of the inning reached base, including Cody Kremer, whose two-run single to right field scored Michael Gwin and Cody Beemiller. Gwin walked to start the inning, and Beemiller got on with an infield single.

Clinging to a three-run advantage proved to be more than enough for Tigers starting pitcher Jamey Barnes, who threw six straight scoreless innings.

"Any good pitcher gets stronger as they go -- and I'm talking about starting pitchers -- and that's a characteristic that Jamey's always had. If you let him get into a groove, you're in trouble," Bishop said.

Barnes got into a bit of trouble himself after recording two outs in the top of the seventh. He walked Calhoun's Jeremy Wyatt and gave up a double to left field against Corey Greeson, prompting Bishop to turn to Kremer in a closing role.

As fans called for a three-pitch strikeout from the Adairsville junior, Kremer dinged the first batter he faced to load the bases, but battled Josh Schubert to a full count before striking him out.

"They made us work for it. They didn't give us anything," Bishop said of the Yellow Jackets. "Hats off to them, but these kids stepped up tonight."

Calhoun watched its first two batters, Greeson and Trent Frix, double to left and right-center field, respectively, to start the game, with the latter hit plating the Yellow Jackets' first run.

Barnes settled down from that point on, and the Tigers locked up the game in their half of the first inning on Gwin's RBI single, which scored leadoff hitter Brandon Blome. Blome doubled to left to reach base.

"[I] kind of got rid of the adrenaline and just slowed down, started pitching, just kept throwing strikes and things worked out," Barnes said.

The senior ace has pitched consistently thus far this season, but had some unfortunate errors behind him Adairsville's last time out. He said he knew the team would bounce back to play better.

"We do a drill after we have a tough defensive game; it's called '21 Outs.' If you don't get 21 straight outs, it's a good bit of running to do," Barnes continued. "We did it about four or five times [Monday] and got everybody's head on right."

Barnes pitched 6 2/3 innings, giving up one earned run on six hits and three walks. He struck out nine batters. Kremer struck out one and hit one in his one-third of an inning.

Getting hits for the Tigers were Gwin, 2-for-3 (RBI single, walk); Kremer, 2-for-3 (two-RBI single); Martin, 2-for-3 (RBI single); Blome, 1-for-4 (double); Cody Beemiller, 1-for-3; Tant, 1-for-3; and Gulledge, 1-for-3. Caleb McCreary finished 0-for-2 with a walk.

Hitters for Calhoun were Frix, 2-for-3 (RBI double, hit by pitch); Greeson, 2-for-4 (two doubles); Schubert, 1-for-4 (double); and Wyatt, 1-for-2 (double, walk). Tyler King went 0-for-2 with a walk, and Alex Kirby went 0-for-1 with a walk.

Austin Norrell pitched 6 innings for the Yellow Jackets, giving up four earned runs on nine hits and two walks. He struck out seven batters. Garrett Saylors gave up no runs and one hit in one inning.

If a rematch is to occur between both clubs, it will be in the Region 7-AA playoffs, with both teams now on opposite sides of the sub-region.

"They're a good team. We'll probably see 'em again before it's over with," Barnes said of the Yellow Jackets, who beat Adairsville twice a season ago.

Both teams should be much improved if that scenario plays out, with the Tigers getting an indication Tuesday of their capability.

"I think the potential of this team is well spoken [for]. I mean, a lot of people know that in this community, in this area," Bishop said. "We have a lot of experienced seniors and as long as we can stay focused on the important things to help us win ball games, the potential is unlimited."

But, Adairsville has not arrived quite yet.

"Yeah, it does [show our potential], but we ain't close yet, so [we got] a long ways to go," Barnes added.

The Tigers (4-2) travel to Chattooga Thursday for a 5 p.m. game.