It’s another game three for Cavaliers
Published 11:48 pm Monday, May 14, 2018
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
Here we go again.
Less than a week ago, the Callaway Cavaliers and Thomasville Bulldogs squared off in a winner-take-all game three.
The day belonged to Callaway, which beat Thomasville 9-6 to win the series and advance to the semifinals of the Class AA state playoffs.
Five days later and Callaway is facing another game three, this time with a berth in the state-championship series on the line.
Callaway and Benedictine split a doubleheader on Monday, setting up today’s game three.
If the weather cooperates, Callaway and Benedictine will play at noon, with the winner advancing to the state-championship series in Savannah.
Monday’s first game was all Callaway, which thumped Benedictine 10-0 in a game that ended after five innings because of the run rule, with Chandler Lott throwing the three-hit shutout.
The script was flipped in the second game, with Carter Holton handcuffing Callaway’s hitters to lead Benedictine to a 7-0 victory.
While the Cavaliers were disappointed not to finish off the sweep, head coach Dusty Hubbard said the team is still in a great position.
“If I tell you guys on Feb. 3, that you’ve got one game to get to the state-championship series, and you’re at home, you’re going to take that and run with it every time,” Hubbard said. “We’ll take that chance.”
Here is a look at Monday’s games:
It was shaping up to be a pitcher’s duel until the Cavaliers went to work in the bottom of the third inning.
Callaway broke open a scoreless game with eight runs in the inning, and it added two more runs in the fourth inning on the way to the blowout win.
When Benedictine failed to score in the top of the fifth, the game ended because of the run rule.
“We had it going, and they helped us with some walks,” Hubbard said. “But we also got some timely hits.”
Trent Sheppard had two of those hits, and he had three RBIs while scoring two runs.
Brooks Bledsoe had a two-run double during the big third inning, and Braelin Mitchell and Wesley Marchman each had a hit and an RBI.
Kyle Campbell walked twice and had an RBI, Lott had a hit and two walks, Drake Wade walked and scored two runs, and Jabari Smith drove in a run.
Lott was superb on the mound, holding the Cadets to three hits while striking out three.
Ryan Pickard, Garrison Gunby and Carter Holton had Benedictine’s three hits.
Gunbsy started for Benedictine, and while he only gave up two hits, he walked five and allowed five earned runs.
Luke Whestone threw the final two innings for Benedictine, and he allowed four runs, although only one of them was earned.
The Cadets threatened to grab the lead after they loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the third, but Lott got a fly-out to keep it a scoreless game.
Callaway then went to work in the bottom of the inning.
Gunsby had a difficult time finding the strike zone, and he walked Wade, Marchman and Lott to load the bases with no outs.
Next up was Mitchell, and he reached on an infield error, and Wade came home with the game’s first run.
With the bases still loaded, Campbell walked to drive in another run, and Sheppard followed with an opposite-field base hit to plate two more runs and give the Cavaliers a 4-0 lead.
Following a pitching change, Jabari Smith’s RBI single extended the lead to 5-0, and Bledsoe followed with a two-run double.
With two outs, Marchman’s RBI single capped the scoring and gave the Cavaliers an 8-0 lead.
Callaway added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth.
After Lott walked and Mitchell single, Sheppard lined the ball to right field for his second RBI hit of the game.
Later in the inning, a Bledsoe fly-ball was dropped, and Sheppard came home with the 10th run.
The Cadets got two men with one out in the top of the fifth, but the Cavaliers turned a double play to end the game.
With the season on the line, Benedictine turned to freshman pitcher Carter Holton, and the left-hander responded with a brilliant performance.
Carter threw a two-hit shutout, and he had 10 strikeouts.
The Cadets scored five runs in the second inning, and single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, and that was more than enough support for Holton.
“You knew they were going to come out fighting,” Hubbard said. “They got embarrassed in the first game.”
It helped to have the talented Holton on the line, who handcuffed a Callaway lineup that appeared unstoppable in the first game.
“It’s all about who’s on that mound, and they had a good one on the mound,” Hubbard said. “He’s just a freshman. He’s going to be really good. He’s already committed to Clemson as a freshman.”
Wesley Marchman, who threw nine superb innings in a 2-1 win over Thomasville last week, struggled in Monday’s game.
Marchman started and pitched 1 2/3 innings, and he allowed five runs on seven hits.
Austin Barber did a terrific job in relief, throwing 2 1/3 scoreless innings, and Dawson Wright allowed two runs in his two innings on the mound.
“He did a good job of keeping them right where they were,” Hubbard said of Barber.
Drake Wade and Braelin Mitchell had Callaway’s only two hits, and Kyle Campbell, Trent Sheppard and Jabari Smith each walked.
Johnny Richardson, Jacob Markiton and Garrett Floyd had two hits apiece for Benedictine, and Josh