Decision day for Cavaliers

By Kevin Eckleberry

May 14, 2014

The season comes down to one game for the Callaway Cavaliers.

Callaway will visit Cartersville today for Game 3 of a playoff series after the two teams split a doubleheader on Tuesday.

The series was supposed to end on Wednesday, but the game was postponed because of rain.

If Mother Nature cooperates today, Callaway and Cartersville will play at 7 p.m., with the winner advancing to the Class AAA semifinals.

The season will be over for the losing team, and the Cavaliers have no intentions of being that team.

“This is what we’ve been working hard for all season,” senior outfielder Chase Freeman said. “We’ve been practicing, working out, we’re ready. We’re coming ready to play, and we’re going to come away with a victory.”

The Cavaliers had a chance to wrap things up on Tuesday.

In Game 1, junior pitcher Perry Keith delivered a brilliant performance in a 1-0 victory.

In Game 2, Cartersville jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, but Callaway rallied to get within a run before falling short 4-3.

Cartersville won a state championship last season, and it has won six state titles since 2001, so Callaway coach Dusty Hubbard knew nothing would come easily in this series.

“We know these guys are not going to roll over and give it to you,” Hubbard said. “We know they have a championship pedigree, and we’ll have to beat them. They’re not going to give it to you.”

Cartersville head coach Stuart Chester, meanwhile, said this has been an evenly-matched series, and he figures the team that plays the cleanest game today will likely win.

“Whoever gets the most breaks or whoever makes the least mistakes will probably take it,” Chester said. “It’s just two good baseball teams.”

The day off may have been a break for the Cavaliers, who had some players suffering from cramps on a hot day on Tuesday.

Both pitchers who threw in Game 2, Nick O’Berry and Dylan Johnson, were cramping during the game, although they both pushed through it.

O’Berry pitched five innings, and Johnson threw two shutout innings, and he also had a home run.

The day off also gives Keith a day of rest in case he is needed for an inning or two.

Cody Mimbs will be the likely starter today, and Terry Godwin and Johnson could also end up pitching.

Keith and O’Berry would also likely be available if needed.

“We’ve got Cody, Dylan, (Godwin),” Hubbard said. “We’ve got some guys we feel we can throw out there. We’re going to throw them out there and see what they’ve got.”

The day off could also benefit Cartersville, which has had injury issues on its pitching staff.

Cartersville doesn’t have a clear number three starter, and Chester said he hasn’t decided who he’ll send to the hill.

“I’ll have to sleep on that one,” he said. “I’m really not sure right now.”

The winner of today’s game will visit Buford in the semifinals.

Buford needed three games to take care of Pike County in the quarterfinals.

Bufore won the first game 3-1, but Pike County bounced back to win the second game 1-0.

In Game 3 on Wednesday, Buford won 4-1.

If Callaway wins today, it would face Buford in the semifinals for the third time this school year.

In the fall, Callaway’s football team made it to the final four where it lost to Buford.

During the winter, the Callaway boys’ basketball team also lost to Buford in the final four.