It was a stress-free first-round match-up for the Callaway Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers didn’t figure to have a whole lot of trouble with Central-Macon in the opening round of the Class AAA state playoffs on Friday, and they didn’t.
Callaway won the first game 10-0 in six innings, and it finished off the sweep with a 12-0 victory in five innings.
Callaway (22-5) will host Appling County in the second round of the playoffs, with the series set to get under way with a pair of games on Wednesday.
Appling County outlasted Dodge County in three games in the first round.
Callaway head coach Dusty Hubbard doesn’t anticipate any cake walks the rest of the way.
“There won’t be any of these left,” Hubbard said. “And if you do have one of these games, which they come along in the playoffs, the next one is liable to be 1-0. It’ll be good teams paired up. There’s only 16 teams left.”
Central-Macon made it into the playoffs despite having a losing record and not having many quality wins to its credit, but it finished fourth in Region 2-AAA.
Callaway, which won the Region 4-AAA championship, got dominant starting performances from Perry Keith and Nick O’Berry.
Keith pitched all six innings in Game 1, and O’Berry didn’t allow a hit in five innings in Game 2, although he did struggle to find the strike zone.
“He didn’t give up a hit, but he walked six,” Hubbard said of O’Berry. “That’s pretty uncharacteristic for him. We’ve got some mechanical things we’ll work on with him.”
O’Berry has been tough to hit down the stretch, though.
In his past two starts, O’Berry has thrown 12 hitless and scoreless innings.
“His stuff’s really coming back,” Hubbard said.
Keith, meanwhile, continued to do what he has done all season.
Keith, a junior right-hander, improved to 6-1, and he lowered an earned run average that was at 1.57 coming into the playoffs.
“He just threw strikes with three pitches,” Hubbard said. “You do that, you get a lot of ground balls, a lot of weak hits. He’s been great for us all year.”
Offensively, the star of the day was junior catcher C.J. Gallatin, who hit a grand slam in the first game, and a two-run home run in the second game.
“We felt like he was going to have a good day. We’re proud of him,” Hubbard said.
Hitting two home runs in the playoffs is always nice, but Gallatin got to do it with his father in attendance.
Gallatin’s father lives in Tennessee, and this was the first time all season he got to watch him play.
“That made it more special,” Gallatin said.
In the first game, it took the Cavaliers a little while to get going against Central-Macon’s top pitcher.
“Against the left-hander we started a little slow,” Hubbard said. “Our scouting report on that guy was he was pretty decent. We ended up with 13 hits off him, and they were legit hits.”
Gallatin’s grand slam came in the bottom of the fifth inning, and it gave the Cavaliers a 9-0 lead.
Austin Garrett had two hits and an RBI, and Kevin Craft also had two hits.
Terry Godwin had an RBI double, and O’Berry had a hit and he reached twice on walks.
Cortney Laye had a hit and a walk, and Dylan Johnson had a double.
In the second game, the Cavaliers broke it open with six runs in the second inning to take a 7-0 lead.
Callaway scored one run in the first inning on a Gallatin RBI single.
In the second inning, O’Berry drove in two runs with a double, and Gallatin put one way over the fence for a two-run home run.
Mason Hendrix also drove in a run with a bunt with a man on third.
The Cavaliers scored three more runs in the third inning, with Keith coming through with an RBI single, and Godwin had a double in the inning.
The Cavaliers finished the scoring with five runs in the fifth inning.
Hendrix had an RBI single in the inning, and Hunter Rollins drove in a run with a groundout.
Two runs also scored when the second baseman was unable to come up with a hard-hit ball off the bat of Reeves Payne.
“You wanted to play well, and you wanted to never really give them a chance of winning, and I thought we did that,” Hubbard said.