The 16-3 victory gave the Cartersville 9- to 10-year-old “A” team the rubber mat game in its series against Cherokee County. Cherokee had won Wednesday’s first game 9-7 while Cartersville came back to claim Thursday’s game 9-0 and force a final do-or-die game to determine the mites champion.
Cartersville will now represent the GRPA District 5 10-and-under baseball players in Augusta on July 7-10 against the seven other district winners in the state tournament.
Coach Chris Frye said Cartersville played a complete game in picking up the tournament title.
“There’s almost too many areas to mention when trying to explain how we won,” Frye said after the game. “The boys just came out and played their best. Of course our pitching was the key tonight. We were lucky to get out of the game allowing just three runs. Grant (Harris) worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the second and that was huge. ”
He said offensively, Cartersville showed a lot of power Friday night.
“Jake Cooper had a huge hit early for us and ended up with five RBIs for the game,” he noted.
Cooper drove in three runs in the first inning, including the eventual game winner, with a monster double that he smashed deep into center field.
He was walked on four pitches in the bottom of the third during his first trip to the plate of the frame but then doubled in two more runs his second appearance in the inning.
Frye said Levi Ayers (batting in the number two spot) helped set the hitting tone early for Cartersville and the rest of the team followed his example.
“We got production all up and down the lineup,” he added.
Frye said the run production during the tournament wasn’t just from the regulars, too.
“Max Rohland, one of our role players, went 5-of-6 for an .800 batting average,” Frye added. “When one of your younger guys can give you such a boost you really are fortunate. Max was just completely unselfish in his play.”
The head coach said Curtis Wilkes also swung a big bat throughout the tournament. “He drove in a just a ton of runs for us,” he added.
“We were blessed to get help all the way up and down the lineup,” Frye said. “When I looked at our stats, it looked like everyone reached base or scored. They stayed aggressive at the plate. Tonight, they jumped out and didn’t wait and put the game in anybody else’s hands.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our boys.”
Scoring runs for Cartersville were: Harris (three), Trevor Lawrence (two), Cooper (two), Curtis Wilkes (two), Dax Edwards, two; Ayers, two runs; Josh Mayo, one; John Reed Evans, one; Zack Woods, one.