Callaway sews up second spot
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
The Callaway Cavaliers came into the week knowing they needed to win one game against Heard County to secure the number two spot in Region 5-AA.
After dropping Tuesday’s game, Callaway returned home for a doubleheader on Thursday with an opportunity to wrap up the second seed and guarantee a home series in the state playoffs.
Callaway took care of business in the first game, rolling to a 13-2 victory to finish second in the region behind Bremen.
Heard County, which won Thursday’s game second 6-2, finished fourth in the region, and it will be on the road for its state-playoff opener.
Heard County game into Thursday’s game with all sorts of momentum.
The Braves had won seven straight region games, and they beat the Cavaliers 10-0 on Tuesday.
The script was reversed in Thursday’s first game.
Freshman Justin Moore was terrific on the mound, and he did a masterful job of pitching out of trouble in the five-inning game.
Moore was able to pitch with a comfortable lead thanks to an offense that had no issues putting runs on the scoreboard.
The game was still somewhat in doubt when the Cavaliers scored seven runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to go up by 12.
When Heard County failed to score in the top of the fifth inning, the game ended because of the run rule.
Callaway head coach Dusty Hubbard was proud of the way his players bounced back following Tuesday’s humbling loss.
“We kind of challenged their manhood a little bit,” Hubbard said. “They knew what we had to do going in. They knew we had to win one game. It would have been nice to sweep, but that wouldn’t have done us any better. We had no shot at first. So we earned a home playoff game.”
After Moore set the Braves down in the top of the first, the Cavaliers went to work and scored three runs in the bottom of the inning.
Wesley Marchman doubled and Trent Sheppard reached on a single, and Braelin Mitchell followed with an RBI single to give the Cavaliers the lead.
Luke Swann drove in another run with a base hit, and Moore helped himself with a sacrifice fly to cap the three-run inning.
The Cavaliers exploded for five runs in the second inning to expand their lead to 8-0.
Bryce Kurian eached on an error leading off, and Drake Wade walked for the second time, putting two men on for Marchman, whose RBI single plated a run.
After Wade scored on a wild pitch, Sheppard and Mitchell both walked to load the bases.
Swann, Callaway’s catcher, got a pitch he could handle, and he drove the ball to the fence in left field for a three-run triple to cap the five-run inning.
The Braves made some noise in the top of the third and scored a pair of runs, trimming the Cavaliers’ lead to 8-2.
After the Cavaliers went down in order in the bottom of the third, the Braves got back-to-back hits to start the fourth inning.
Moore was unfazed, and he retired the next three batters without allowing a run to score.
The Cavaliers put it away in the fourth inning, scoring seven runs, all with two outs.
Mitchell and Swann set the table with base hits, and Destin Patrick was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs.
Brooks Bledsoe, making his first plate appearance of the game, came through with a two-run single to put the Cavaliers on top 10-2.
Kurian, the number nine hitter in the order, followed with a two-run hit of his own, and the Cavaliers led by 10.
When Kurian scampered home on a wild pitch, the Cavaliers were ahead 13-2, and that was the final score.
OF NOTE: For details of Thursday’s second game, as well as a look at what’s coming up for the Cavaliers, see Saturday’s sports section. For more photos, check out Facebook.com/LDNSports