Canes play best at right time
by Jason Greenberg
May 09, 2014 | 1457 views | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The state quarterfinals are a familiar place for the Cartersville baseball program. The Canes have reached the round of 8 in 16 out of 17 years under head coach Stuart Chester.

However, what is not so familiar is how comfortably Cartersville advanced in the first two rounds, sweeping both White County and Woodward Academy by an average margin of victory of nearly six runs per game.

Cartersville’s quarterfinals opponent, Callaway, also easily advanced through its first two series. Callaway did not allow a run to Central-Macon or Appling County in sweeps of each and has scored 50 runs in the four games.

Still, Cartersville will come in with plenty of confidence after its own convincing victories.

Cartersville’s pitching has been a strong suit all season as the team allowed exactly one run per game during region play. That has continued in the playoffs and the Canes have allowed 10 runs in the four games, despite having an injury-depleted pitching staff.

On the other hand, Cartersville’s bats have not been a strength of the team during the regular season, but have come to life in the playoffs. In the team’s two losses during region play, both coming against Sonoraville, Cartersville scored just one run in each game.

Cartersville’s offense has been significantly better in the first two rounds, however.

The Canes scored two runs against Spencer Adams in seven innings during Game 1 against White County before scoring a third to win the game in the eighth inning. Adams was recently listed as the 35th prospect for the upcoming MLB Draft by ESPN’s Keith Law.

Cartersville then scored 14, 5 and 11 in the next three games, respectively. The Canes scored more than five runs just eight times during the regular season and only twice against a team that eventually made the state playoffs.

One of the reasons Cartersville has scored so frequently is the team’s proficiency with runners on base. The Canes currently have a batting average of .421 and an on-base percentage of .493 with runners in scoring position through the first two rounds.

Cartersville has six players hitting over .300 in the playoffs. David Darnell has gone 6-for-12 after going 11-for-41 during the regular season and 4-for-20 during region play. He has driven in three runs, scored four, and delivered the game-winning hit in Game 1 against White County.

Clifton Dempsey has produced out of the leadoff spot and is 6-for-18, including a triple, in the playoffs with two runs scored and three RBIs.

Fellow senior Cameron Neal is tied with Elliott Anderson for the team lead with four RBIs in the playoffs and has gone 4-for-11 as the team’s designated hitter.

Meanwhile, Brent Arnold, is 6-for-15 in the first two rounds with a double, a triple, three runs scored and two RBIs.

In addition to their strong outfield defense, Riley Richards and Mark Quattlebaum are each hitting over .300 and have combined for eight runs scored.

Cartersville also received some help from a poor defensive team in Woodward Academy. The War Eagles came in with 60 errors on the year and allowed seven unearned runs in the two-game series against Cartersville.

On the mound, Garrett Rutledge has given the injury-depleted pitching staff some good innings in his two starts. He has thrown 12 innings, given up four runs and nine hits, and has recorded 11 strikeouts.

Lane Wilson threw six innings in Game 1 against White County and allowed two runs, one earned, and struck out five.

Anderson was the winning pitcher in Game 2 against Woodward and threw five innings allowing two runs — one earned — on five hits, to go along with seven strikeouts.

The pitching performances have been even more impressive because two of the team’s top four starters, Hunter Osborn and Destin Herron, have missed games because of injury. Osborn has yet to throw for the Canes while Herron threw two innings in the final game against Woodward. Herron allowed just two hits but, because of fielding miscues, he allowed two unearned runs and struck out three.