Cavaliers rally from early deficit

Published 4:47 pm Wednesday, April 5, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

COLUMBUS – That’s 10 in a row.

Following a 2-1 extra-inning loss to the Troup Tigers, the Callaway Cavaliers were reeling a bit and they had a 5-7 record.

Since that setback a month ago, though, the Cavaliers have known nothing but success.

With Tuesday’s 14-5 road win over Jordan, Callaway (15-7 overall) has won 10 straight games, and it is a perfect 7-0 in Region 5-AA games.

The two teams will play again on Thursday at Callaway, with the doubleheader set to begin at 4:30 p.m.

After that, Callaway will turn its attention to next week’s region-championship showdown with Heard County.

The Cavaliers will finish no lower than second in the region, meaning they’ll be at home for the first round of the state playoffs.

The Cavaliers started a bit shakily on Tuesday, and they found themselves trailing 3-0 after the first inning.

The Cavaliers took the lead with five runs in the top of the third inning, and they ended up scoring 14 answered runs before the Red Jackets scored twice in the seventh inning.

Senior right-hander Josh Hanson overcome some early-game difficulties to throw 5 2/3 strong innings.

Freshman Wesley Marchman entered the game with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, and he got the final four outs.

“He made the big pitches, and he got his slider going late,” Callaway head coach Dusty Hubbard said of Hanson. “I think he ended up with 10 strikeouts. He ended up doing a pretty good job. His pitch count got up a little more than we’re used to. They did a good job of putting it in play, and making us make plays.”

With two starters unavailable to play on Tuesday, Hubbard had to shake things up a bit.

Callaway’s new-look infield featured shortstop Bryce Kurian at shortstop, freshman Wesley Marchman at second base, sophomore Braelin Mitchell at third base, Slone Raper at first base and Drake Wade at catcher.

“We were a couple of guys down today, and we’ll be a couple of guys down the first game Thursday,” Hubbard said. “We had some young guys that did a really good job. I thought Wesley Marchman did a really good job. Drake did an unbelievable job behind the plate for never really working there. And Bryce had to go play short for us, and he hasn’t done that a lot for us.”

The Red Jackets, who are in third place in the region with a 3-7 record, came out firing, and a two-run triple by Eric Newman helped them take a 3-0 lead in the first inning.

Jordan threatened again in the second inning by putting runners on second and third with one out, but Hanson got out of the jam without any more runs scoring.

The Cavaliers had been set down in order in the first two innings, but they came to life in the top of the third.

With one out, Marchman got the rally started with a base hit, and Milton Turner followed with a double before a Wade walk loaded the bases.

Ben Griffin fouled out some tough two-strike pitches, and he ended up walking to drive in the Cavaliers’ first run.

“That was a huge at-bat,” Hubbard said.

With the bases still full, Dylan Johnson put the ball in play on the ground, and the throw to first got away, allowing two runs to score and the game was tied 3-3.

Raper then gave the Cavaliers the lead with a sacrifice fly, and Mitchell ripped the ball up the middle for an RBI single to cap the five-run inning.

The Cavaliers padded their lead with four more runs in the fourth inning.

Trent Sheppard led off with a walk, Hanson and Marchman followed with bunt singles to load the bases, and Turner’s sacrifice fly pushed the lead to 6-3.

Next up was Wade, and he drove the ball to left field for a two-run single, and Griffin followed with the Cavaliers’ third bunt hit of the inning.

Wade later scored on a double steal, and the Cavaliers led 9-3.

Callaway scored two more runs in the sixth inning.

After Griffin tripled, he scored on a Johnson base hit, and Raper followed with an RBI single to give Callaway an 11-3 lead.

The Cavaliers capped their scoring with three runs in the top of the seventh.

Hanson was hit by a pitch, Marchman had a single, and Turner walked to load the bases, and a run scored when Griffin reached on an error.

After a Johnson fielder’s choice drove in another run, Raper capped had an RBI single.

The Red Jackets scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh, but Wade threw a base runner out at third to end the game.

NOTEBOOK: Freshman Wesley Marchman had three singles for Callaway… Slone Raper had two RBI singles as well as a sacrifice fly… Ben Griffin was on base three times with a walk, a base hit and a triple and he had an RBI…Milton Turner was on base three times with a walk a double and a single, and he had an RBI…Drake Wade had a double, a base hit and a walk and he drove in two runs…Dylan Johnson had a base hit and two RBIs…Braelin Mitchell had an RBI single…Trent Sheppard had a walk to begin the four-run fourth inning.

UP NEXT: Callaway will host Jordan on Tuesday, with the doubleheader starting at 4:30 p.m. Callaway finishes its region schedule next week against Heard County.

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