The Cartersville High baseball team defeated Sandy Creek Friday night, 6-2, but that wasn’t the biggest news of the day for the Canes, at least as far playoff implications are concerned.
With Troup’s loss to Cedartown, Cartersville is back in sole possession of first place with just three region games remaining, giving Cartersville control of its own destiny in regards to earning a No. 1 seed for the state tournament and winning the region championship outright.
Of course, even with Troup’s loss, Cartersville still had to win its game against Sandy Creek to break the tie atop the Region 5-AAAA standings. The Canes did so on the strength of a five-run first inning.
The two teams traded single runs in the fourth and Sandy Creek tacked on one run in the bottom of the sixth, but Cartersville was in control the whole way thanks to that first-inning rally.
That first inning started off with the first four Cartersville batters reaching base — Josh Davis on a walk, Cohen Wilbanks on a single, Preston Welchel reaching on an error that scored two runs and Mason Barnett’s RBI double to score Welchel. A single by Ian Inaba two at-bats later allowed Barnett to score on a wild pitch, and Brant Smith doubled with two outs in the inning to score the last run of the frame.
Welchel continued his outstanding season in the fourth with an RBI double to score Davis after Davis singled to lead off the inning. Welchel entered the day hitting .478 on the year with a team leading 25 RBIs, while Davis started the game hitting .377.
Wilbanks went 3-for-4 for the game and Inaba also had two hits on the day.
On the mound, Logan Martin allowed two unearned runs as Cartersville had three errors in the game, but was stellar overall in the start, recording 10 strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. He was relieved by Gage Morris, who got out of a jam by striking out one batter in the sixth inning before Martin pitched a perfect seventh with a strikeout to end the game.
Cartersville is now 20-4 on the year overall and 8-1 in region play. The Canes will begin a two-game series against Cedartown at home on Monday.