The Cartersville baseball team only was able to get one hit Thursday in its 2-0 loss to Marist at Richard Bell Field in its opener, but head coach Stuart Chester is not concerned considering the competition his team was facing.
“I mean, anytime you get one hit you’re disappointed, but against three arms like that right there, we need to see that now. You got two lefties, high 80s, low 90s, and a righty the same way. That’s their three best pitchers,” Chester said. “Our guys competed, just came a little short.”
Left-handed pitcher Sean Guenther, who is committed to play next year at Notre Dame, started for Marist and did not allow a hit in his three innings of work.
Michael Toner, who is committed to William & Mary, was next to toe the rubber for Marist and Destin Herron greeted him with a base hit in the fourth inning. After a David Darnell sacrifice bunt got Herron to second base, a strikeout and lineout stranded him and Cartersville would not get another baserunner in the last three innings.
“It was just a good defensive ballgame,” Chester said. “We had an opportunity here and there, but, of course, when you see three seniors like that, it’s tough.”
Marist got its first run early when a leadoff double by Steven Taylor put a runner in scoring position with no outs in the first inning. Parker Mathes then laid down a sac bunt and Patick Sullivan grounded out to second base to score the first run of the ballgame.
Cartersville starting pitcher Micah Smith did not allow another hit in his three innings on the mound.
Brent Arnold relieved Smith in the fourth inning and pitched two scoreless innings to keep Cartersville in the game.
Garrett Rutledge pitched the final two frames, striking out two without allowing a hit. However, Marist was able to get an insurance run in the seventh when a wild pitch allowed a strikeout victim to get on base. After a sacrifice bunt, Rutledge hit Marist’s Matt Perez to put two runners on. Rutledge then walked two batters with two outs to allow Marist’s second run of the game.
“Our guys did a good job, too, holding them to one hit,” Chester said. “That’s just a seventh inning mental letdown. The strikezone gets a little tight and you still got to stick it in through there. Garrett struggled a little bit and we’re fortunate enough for him to battle and get of there with just one run. He struck their guy out and the ball gets to the backstop, and just things like that can go and snowball. That’s when you got to tighten the screws up and stop it.”
Marist is the No. 1 ranked team in Class AAAA and Chester believes his team will grow from the experience of playing top-notch competition.
“To come here and compete with those guys, it’s just very good competition and [I have] a lot of respect for [Marist head] coach [Mike] Strickland and his squad,” Chester said. “Charlie Leibrant [14-year major leaguer] is the pitching coach and you see the result there on the mound. All in all, you come up short and not win, but we will learn more from this game than trying to go out there and beat someone 10-0.”
Herron also walked in addition to his hit and Cameron Neal, who walked, was the other baserunner for Cartersville.
The Canes will go on the road for their next game Monday at Carrollton. The first pitch will be at 5:30 p.m.
Adairsville splits doubleheader
The Adairsville baseball team split a doubleheader Wednesday, defeating Cairo by a score of 5-3 and falling to Leon 11-3, at the Bainbridge Tournament to move to 2-1 on the season.
Cody Melton and Colin Bearden each had an RBI, while Lane Griffith drove in two runs in the first game against Cairo.
The Tigers recorded 10 hits in the contest, including two by Dakota Hines and three by Sean McDermott.
Tristin Smith was the starting pitcher for Adairsville and threw four innings, allowing one hit and one run while striking out five.
Noah O’Kelley finished the game and pitched 2 1/3 innings. He did not allow a hit or run and recorded four strikeouts.
In the second game, Leon jumped on Adairsville early for a run in the first inning, two in the second and two more in the third.
Adairsville did score a run of its own in the second and two more in the sixth, but it would not be enough as the Tigers lost their first game of the season.
Adairsville recorded six hits in the game, including two each from McDermott and Nate Medlock.
The Tigers had four errors in the game, allowing for Leon to score six unearned runs.
Adairsville is now 2-1 and will play its next game Wednesday at home against Coosa at 5:30 p.m.