The Cartersville baseball team had to go on the road for its second-round Class 4A state playoff series Wednesday.
However, despite playing in Thomson, the Canes made themselves right at home as a large purple contingency was on hand to watch Cartersville reach its ninth consecutive state quarterfinals and make its 19th appearance in the Round of 8 in the last 21 years.
Cartersville hit early and often in its sweep of Thomson, winning the first game by a score of 13-3 and the second game, 6-4.
“We’ve had so many injuries this year, setbacks, played such a tough schedule. Finishing second in the region was disappointing for everybody,” Cartersville head coach Stuart Chester said of reaching the quarterfinals. “And to come out and make the quarterfinals is a compliment to our program.”
Cartersville advances to face Buford in the next round at Buford Tuesday.
“We’re 1-1. They put us out last year in the semifinals, we put them out in the semifinals the year before,” Chester said. “I guess we’re going to have a grudge match.”
Cartersville struck quickly in Game 1, scoring two runs in the first inning on Devin Warner’s two-run double.
Cartersville score another run in the third. After Carrington Evans’ leadoff 2B on a 9-pitch at bat, Evans scored on a Parker Tidwell groundout, giving the Canes a 3-0 lead.
In the fifth, Warner hit a solo home run high and deep over the right field fence. Spencer Dickey followed one out later with a home run of his own to take a 5-0 lead after the fifth.
Warner finished the game 2-for-4 with a home run, a double, a hit by pitch and four RBIs.
“That home run would have been out anywhere,” Chester said of Warner’s shot. “His approach that first game was awesome. He’s due a big game and he produced.”
The Canes scored again in the sixth with two runs on singles by Cole Jamieson and Anthony Seigler, a walk and an error to make it 7-0 after 5 1/3.
Meanwhile, Elliott Anderson was dealing on the mound, striking out 13 in a complete-game win. At one point, he struck out five straight batters, all swinging, between the third and fifth innings.
“Anderson was on,” Chester said, “especially the first three innings. He was very good [Wednesday].”
Anderson also hit well at the plate, going 2-for-2 with a double and three walks. He now has eight extra-base hits in his last six games.
“He’s a pure hitter,” Chester said of Anderson. “And he may get to hit some at Auburn. He’s done a great job for us.”
Cartersville would tack on six runs in the seventh inning as three Thomson relievers dished out five walks and hit two batters to make the score 13-0.
Thomson scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh for posterity’s sake on three hits and a walk.
Thomson got on the board first in Game 2, scoring two runs in the top of the second on an RBI double and an RBI groundout.
The Canes came back with two runs in the bottom of the second on singles by Parker Tidwell and Spencer Dickey, a sacrifice fly by Trevor Lowe, and Tidwell scored on a wild pitch.
After Thomson took the lead with one unearned run in the third, Cartersville came back with four runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 6-3 lead. In that four-run fourth, Anthony Seigler tripled, Anderson doubled and Carrington Evans singled to lead off the inning. Tidwell and Cole Jamieson added doubles after that and Dickey hit a sacrifice fly for the fourth run of the inning.
“We hit very well at the plate,” Chester said. “We swung the bats very well. I think that was a key. We put runs on the board almost every inning or every other inning and then we scored some more.
“Our approach at the plate has been great the last couple of weeks.”
Thomson scored one more run in the seventh inning, but Seigler pitched a complete game (six innings left-handed, one inning right-handed), and struck out eight.
“[Seigler] didn’t have his stuff. He didn’t have his changeup, couldn’t locate, got behind in counts and struggled at times, but we got enough runs to win,” Chester said. “Of course, he’s only been back two weeks.”