With a possible region championship on the line, Callaway head coach Dusty Hubbard put the ball in the hands of junior pitcher Perry Keith.
The Cavaliers were in good hands.
Keith, who has had a sensational season, kept it going on Monday when he pitched seven shutout innings to lead the Cavaliers to a 3-0 victory over the Central-Carroll Lions.
The Cavaliers improved to 11-1 in Region 4-AAA, and they can wrap up the region title with a win today.
Had Central won Monday’s game, it would have been tied with Callaway for first place.
“We felt like if we could get one or two, we had a pretty good shot with the way he was throwing the ball,” Hubbard said of Keith.
The Cavaliers scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, and that was indeed plenty of support for Keith, who improved to 5-0 while lowering an earned run average that was already below one.
Hubbard said Keith developed a more side-arm delivery in the off-season, and it has helped him make huge strides.
“It’s just tinkering with his mechanics a little bit, and dropping him down. It’s a different arm angle,” Hubbard said. “He’s got really good breaking balls from down there. His fastball moves all over the place, and he throws strikes. He doesn’t give up a lot of hard-hit balls.”
The Cavaliers had a great chance to take the lead in the fourth inning when they loaded the bases with no outs.
A popup and a double play allowed Central to get out the inning without any runs scoring, though.
The Cavaliers broke through an inning later.
Austin Garrett led off with a base hit, and Keith reached on a bunt single to put runners on first and second.
Dylan Johnson then bunted, and when the third baseman threw the ball away, Garrett scored, as did courtesy runner Jaylen Colton all the way from first base.
Colton has missed much of the season with a broken hand, and while is still unable to hit or play the field, he can be used as a runner, and he made a big impact on Monday by scoring all the way from first on the error.
“He’s got his cast off a week ago, and he’s able to run,” Hubbard said. “He’s still not able to catch or throw, but he’s able to run. And that’s huge for him to be able to do that.”
Another bunt, this one off the bat off Nick O’Berry, allowed the third run to score.
Callaway will host Rockmart today at 5:30 p.m. before finishing its region schedule with a home doubleheader against Jackson on Wednesday.