Cartersville defeated Gordon Central by a score of 10-0 in five innings as several seniors contributed in the win.
“The great thing about today is it was senior night and we got an opportunity for all the seniors to play and to win on senior night,” Cartersville head coach Stuart Chester said. “It’s good to send our guys out on our last regular season home game that way.”
The Canes played the right opponent to honor its players as Gordon Central came into the game winless on the season.
The win, paired with Sonoraville’s 4-9 loss to North Murray Friday, leaves Cartersville tied alongside Ringgold in first place at 11-2 in region play. Cartersville has the tiebreaker, however, after beating Ringgold twice. If Cartersville beats North Murray today, the team will secure homefield advantage through the first three rounds of the state playoffs.
“If we can finish first, I like where we’re at,” Chester said.
Cartersville was able to jump on the Warriors in the first inning when its first six batters reached base. Clifton Dempsey singled to lead off, Cameron Neal was hit by a pitch and Brent Arnold singled to load the bases. Garrett Rutledge then singled to score Dempsey and give Cartersville a 1-0 lead.
Riley Richards followed with an RBI single of his own and Christian Demastus had another, and as a result, the Canes led 3-0 before Gordon Central recorded an out.
Cartersville would score four in the inning.
Wyatt Barnett got the start for the Canes on the mound and allowed just one hit and one walk through three scoreless innings.
Cartersville would give Barnett even more run support in the second inning when, after Neal walked, Arnold launched a home run on the first pitch he saw over the 2009 state championship sign in left field. The homer gave Arnold’s team a 6-0 lead.
Cartersville scored another run in the inning when Nick Hill singled to drive in Rutledge, who got on base with a walk. Demastus singled with two outs in the inning to give Hill the opportunity with Rutledge at second base.
Cartersville’s offense went down 1-2-3 in the third inning and almost gave up a run in the top of the fourth. However, with two outs and runners on first and second, Mark Quattlebaum made a lunging catch in deep left-center field to preserve the shutout.
The offense was back at it in the fourth, scoring two more runs to take a 9-0 lead.
Rutledge was the first to reach base when he was hit by a pitch. Richards followed with a single and Nick Hill walked to load the bases. Quattlebaum then reached base on an infield single to score Rutledge from third.
Jacob Fowler would bring home another run as the next batter when he walked.
Jack Mayo and Elliott Anderson combined to pitch the final two scoreless innings for Cartersville to maintain the lead.
The game would then end in the bottom of the fifth due to the mercy rule.
Neal and Arnold each walked to lead off the inning before Rutledge was hit with a pitch for the second time in as many innings. Demastus then grounded out with the bases loaded to score Neal from third and give Cartersville the 10-0 win.
Despite the lack of competition, Chester still believes his team can gain something from the game.
“Baseball is baseball, and on any given day, anybody can beat anybody,” he said. “Just the fact that we got to see different arms, flyballs, ground balls, running the bases, anytime no matter who you play, when you can get on the field and face competition, it’s good.
“We just have to gear up for tomorrow. If we win tomorrow, we sew up first. If we lose, we go to third.”
The first eight batters in the lineup were seniors for Cartersville and all contributed at the plate. Rutledge singled in the first inning and reached base in all four of his plate appearances, including an RBI and two runs scored. Meanwhile, Neal reached base three times. Demastus recorded two hits, two RBIs and a run scored.
Mark Quattlebaum recorded a hit and two RBIs, and Arnold reached base three times, scored two runs, walked and singled in addition to his home run.
Felllow senior Richards and Hill each reached base twice.