New Cavaliers have settled right in
By Kevin Eckleberry
They’ve settled right in.
As the Callaway Cavaliers prepared for a new season, head coach Dusty Hubbard welcomed two new players into the fold.
Kyle Campbell and Chandler Lott both played at Springwood School in Alabama last season, and they transferred together to Callaway for the 2016-2017 school year.
Lott has settled in as one of Callaway’s top pitchers, and he has also thrived at catcher.
Campbell has also been an effective pitcher out of the bullpen, and he is a catcher and first baseman.
Both players have also been key members of the lineup, and they each had RBI hits in a 5-4 win over Handley last week that extended the team’s winning streak to six games.
Campbell said he has enjoyed becoming a member of the Callaway baseball family.
“I enjoy it so much,” Campbell said. “It’s a good team, with good coaches and good players. It’s a fun atmosphere. We’re glad to be here.”
Campbell has been behind the plate when Lott has been pitching this season, and he has seen his friend and teammate throw some gems.
In a 2-1 loss to Troup, Lott pitched 8 2/3 shutout innings before having to leave the game.
Lott allowed just four hits while striking out six in that game.
In an 8-1 region win over Temple, Lott threw five innings to get the win before Campbell worked two shutout innings to finish it.
“We transferred in together. We played ball together last year,” Campbell said. “So I’ve got to see him mature, and see how much of a picture he’s become. If he’s hitting his spots, he’s hard to hit.”
UNHITTABLE: In most games, particularly when facing an opponent as capable as the Cartersville Purple Hurricanes, one run isn’t enough.
With Troup’s Colby Williams on the mound, though, one run was sufficient.
Williams, who has been masterful each time he has stepped on the mound this season, threw a seven-inning shutout as Troup beat home-standing Cartersville 1-0 on Friday.
For Williams, a right-handed sophomore, it was nothing new.
Williams has been shutting down opposing offenses all season, and Friday was no different.
While Williams obviously has the stuff to get opposing batters out, Troup head coach Craig Garner said his hard-nosed mentality is a key to his success as well.
“He competes,” Garner said earlier this season after watching Williams shut down LaGrange’s lineup. “He’s a bulldog out there. He doesn’t want you to take the ball out of his hands.”
Williams has made six starts this season, and he has allowed one or fewer runs in five of those games.
In his “worst” outing of the season, Williams went six innings and gave up two runs and was the winning pitcher in a 7-2 victory over Hillgrove.
In his two starts against region opponents, Williams has been mostly unhittable.
In a 3-1 victory over LaGrange, Williams pitched a seven-inning complete game, and he gave up four hits and one run while striking out six.
He was even better against Cartersville.
Taking the mound in a stadium that is home to a program that has won numerous state championships, Williams pitched the seven-inning shutout as Troup prevailed 1-0.
Williams allowed three hits, and he had nine strikeouts.
Before region play began, Williams tossed eight shutout innings against Callaway, although he received no decision as his team won 2-1 in nine innings.
Williams set the tone for the season in his first start when he went six innings of one-hit, shutout ball in a 2-1 victory over Hardaway.
Williams has a 3-0 record, although he has pitched well enough to win each of his games.
To Williams, all that matters is team success.
“Every time I’ve been on the mound but once we’ve won,” Williams said after the Callaway game. “That’s all that matters.”
FINDING THEIR OFFENSE: During a recent three-game stretch, the LaGrange Grangers were limited to three runs, and they were held to four hits in a 3-1 loss to the Troup Tigers in their Region 5-AAAA opener.
The Grangers have turned things around in a big way since that Troup game though.
LaGrange has won four straight games, all against region foes, and a revived offense is a big reason why.
The Grangers have scored 33 runs in their past four games, and that included a 19-run explosion in a win over the Central-Carroll Lions.
LaGrange also scored four runs against Cedartown and eight runs against Sandy Creek.
LaGrange was limited to two runs against Cartersville, but it won that game 2-1 thanks to Ben Anderson’s lock-down performance on the mound.
The Grangers have been getting contributions throughout the lineup during the hot streak.
In an 8-3 win over Sandy Creek, Matthew Anderson had four hits, and Jacob Vinson and Cole Freeman each had two hits.
Against Central-Carroll, LaGrange enjoyed its most productive offensive game of the season in a 19-6 victory.
Willis Kemp had a massive day with four hits and seven RBIs, David Sweat was 5-for-5, and Champ Willis and Freeman were both 3-for-3.
Anderson also had two hits, and Colson Blackburn, Coy Tedescucci and Trevor Norris each had a hit, and Ben Farrar had a sacrifice fly.