Cavs savor region title

By Kevin Eckleberry

April 23, 2014

For the third time in four years, the Callaway Cavaliers are region champions.

With Wednesday’s doubleheader sweep of Jackson, the Cavaliers closed their Region 4-AAA schedule with a 13-1 record, and they finished two games ahead of the Central-Carroll Lions.

The Cavaliers fell to the Lions 2-0 on March 26, but they didn’t lose another region game.

Callaway beat Central-Carroll 3-0 on Monday, and it wrapped up the region title with a 6-0 win over Rockmart on Tuesday.

Winning the region title means Callaway will be at home for at least the first two rounds of the state playoffs.

Following Wednesday’s games, the players were presented with the region-championship trophy, and while there is obviously plenty of work left to do this season, Callaway coach Dusty Hubbard made sure the players enjoyed the moment.

“You better enjoy these things, because you don’t know how many you’re going to get,” Hubbard said. “I was always don’t enjoy it, get ready for the next thing, but I’ve learned now after being in it for about 14, 15 years you have to enjoy it.”

The Cavaliers (19-4 overall) have been a well-rounded team.

The pitching has been outstanding, with Perry Keith, Nick O’Berry and Cody Mimbs giving the Cavaliers an outstanding trio of starters.

Those three players have combined for 12 wins, and Keith and O’Berry both delivered dominant pitching performances this week.

Keith threw seven scoreless innings in Monday’s win over Central-Carroll, and O’Berry tossed his second career no-hitter in Tuesday’s region championship-clinching win over Rockmart.

Callaway is also getting it done at the plate with a team batting average of .325, with O’Berry leading the way with a .387 average before Wednesday’s games.

O’Berry also has 13 RBIs, and he leads the team with 14 stolen bases.

Chase Freeman is hitting .380 with a team-best 16 RBIs, and he also leads the team with four home runs.

Among the every-day players, Cortney Laye (.350), Mimbs (.345), Terry Godwin (.317) and C.J. Gallatin (.308) are hitting .300 or better, and Keith came into Wednesday with a .298 average.

Beyond the stats, catcher Colby Freeman said what has helped make the Cavaliers so successful is the close-knit nature of all the players.

“We’ve got some great guys, some great chemistry,” Freeman said. “Out of my four years, this is my favorite team, by far.”

The Cavaliers are hoping to duplicate the success they had the last time they won a region title.

In 2012, the Cavaliers won the Region 5-AA title, and they ended up making it to the state quarterfinals before losing to Brantley County.

“We feel good,” Chase Freeman said. “We’re hoping we can get the bats hot. If we do we’re going to be all right.”