Cavaliers take care of business
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It hasn’t always been a smooth journey.
When the dust cleared, though, the Callaway Cavaliers did enough to finish second in Region 5-AA and secure a home series in the state playoffs.
Callaway (16-10 overall), which split a doubleheader with Heard County on Thursday, finished with a 10-5 region record, with Bremen finishing first at 14-1.
Callaway won Thursday’s first game 13-2, and Heard County won the second game 6-2. In the first game of the series on Tuesday, Heard County won 10-0.
Callaway, which handed Bremen its lone region loss, will host a first-round series in the state playoffs.
Callaway has games against Central-Carroll, Glenwood and Troup next week before turning its focus to the state playoffs.
“When we’ve had to have it, they’ve found a way to do it,” Callaway head coach Dusty Hubbard said. “That says a lot about them. Now, you’ve got a week to tune some things up, and then it’s real baseball time.”
The Cavaliers have overcome some key injuries, most notably to the pitching staff.
Wesley Marchman, who was expected to be the staff ace, hasn’t pitched at all this season, and some other pitchers have been slowed by injuries as well.
Marchman has also been unable to play in the field, and that hurts the defense since he’s an exceptional third baseman.
“We’ve had some injuries that a lot of people don’t know about,” Hubbard said. “We would loved to have thrown Jabari Smith in game three (against Heard County), or Walt in game three, but they’re both nursing sore arms. We’re trying to get them well. They probably could have pitched, but once we won the second one, we’re not going to put them out there sore. So, we’ll try to get those guys well.”
As for Marchman, Hubbard said. “people don’t understand that fact that Wesley not being able to play third has hurt us.”
But, Hubbard added, “everybody has injuries. That’s part of the game. They’ve grinded through.”
On a short-handed pitching staff, freshman Justin Moore has come up huge for the Cavaliers. Moore was on the mound for Thursday’s 13-2 victory, and threw a five-inning complete game.
“When we had to take two out of three from Lamar, he won one of those games,” Hubbard said. “And he won tonight. He’s got a bright future. He’s been a rock. The biggest thing about him is he competes. He’s not afraid. For a young kid, that’s a great trait to have.”
Offensively in game one on Thursday, Luke Swann had three hits and four RBIs, and he had a triple with the bases loaded to knock in three of those runs.
Marchman and Braelin Mitchell each had two hits and an RBI, and Brooks Bledsoe and Bryce Kurian each had a hit and two RBIs.
Leadoff hitter Drake Wade was on base three times with walks, Moore drove in a run, and Trent Shepphard had a hit and a walk.
In the second game, Callaway was limited to two hits in the 6-2 loss.
Mitchell and Austin Cardwell each had had hits for Callaway, and Zach Neighbors pitched a complete game.
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