Local 8U teams finish top-3 at state

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Neither local team remaining for the final day of the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association 8U state tournaments came away with a title Friday, but the Bartow 8U girls softball team finished as state runner-up and the Cartersville Purple 8U baseball team placed third in action at the Sonoraville Recreation Complex in Calhoun.

Both teams entered Friday’s action as one of three teams remaining in their respective tournaments, and both needed three wins on the day to win their double-elimination events.

Bartow 8U softball defeated Gordon County 19-10 to reach the state championship round, but the team fell to unbeaten Rockmart 19-11 to finish second of 10 state tournament teams.

Cartersville Purple 8U baseball was edged by Whitfield County 15-14 Friday morning to finish in third place. Whitfield was the eventual state runner-up after falling to Calhoun in the finals, 16-8.

Bartow 8U softball scored in each inning in their win over Gordon County. The locals led most of the way, but a five-run top of the third inning gave Gordon County a temporary 6-4 lead. Bartow answered with four runs in the bottom of the inning and put the game away with an 11-run, fourth-inning outburst.

Addi Lu Black, Shyia Woods, Samantha Porter, Isabella Tummins and Carly Adams led Bartow’s offense with three hits each. Black and Tummins had a double and a triple each among their three hits. Woods had two doubles and Porter added a double.

Paislee Rooks, Lillie Hollis, Carder Brock and Maci Walker had two hits each in Bartow’s win. Kylee Poston contributed a double and Sloan Callan added one hit.

Bartow held a 6-5 lead after one inning in the title game loss to Rockmart, but the eventual state champs took an 8-6 lead in the second inning and pushed its advantage to 16-7 after three frames on its way to an eight-run win.

Callan and Black had three hits to pace Bartow. Woods had a home run and a double to lead four players with two hits. Brock doubled and tripled. Hollis had a double as one of her two hits and Adams also finished with two hits. Porter tripled, Kaidee Pirkle doubled and Rooks added a base hit.

Both of Bartow’s losses in the tournament were to Rockmart — in the first round and again in the championship game. Between those two games, Bartow had wins over Calhoun (30-9), Dalton (23-1), Lafayette (25-10), Summerville (17-7) and Gordon County (19-10) to complete the tournament with a 5-2 mark.

In 8U baseball action Friday, Cartersville Purple led or was tied in each inning except the final one in a 15-14 loss to Whitfield County.

Cartersville Purple led 3-2 after one inning and 7-4 through the second inning.

Whitfield took a 9-7 lead in the top of the third, but Cartersville Purple tied the game 9-9 in their half of the frame. Purple went up 11-9 in the fourth, but Whitfield knotted the score again in the fifth inning.

Whitfield County outscored Cartersville Purple in the final inning to advance with a 15-14 victory.

Bowen Hardy led the Cartersville Purple offense with four hits, including a double and two RBIs. William Groce followed with three hits and two RBIs. Price Startup (2 RBIs), Colt Priest and Walker Phillips (RBI) contributed a pair of hits each. Parker Huth (RBI), Noah Leffew and Blake Forstie had the other Cartersville hits. Cade McFarland drove in a run.

Cartersville Purple opened the state tournament with three straight wins over Rockmart Black (42-7), Morgan County (20-11) and Jasper County (19-6) before falling in two straight to eventual champion Calhoun (28-5) and runner-up Whitfield County.

Cartersville Purple 8U's third-place finish was the best of four local baseball teams in the GRPA state tournament. Bartow Blue (3-2) placed fourth with their losses also coming to Calhoun and Whitfield County. Bartow White went 2-2 to finish seventh, and Cartersville Gold placed ninth.