Special day for Cavaliers

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 3, 2019


Daily News

It was quite a day for the Callaway High baseball family.

The Cavaliers not only beat the Model Blue Devils to advance to the Class AA quarterfinals, but Dusty Hubbard reached the 300-win mark as Callaway’s head coach.

Callaway won the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader 1-0, with Dawson Wright pitching a complete-game gem.

In the second game, it was freshman Justin Moore throwing a complete game as Callaway finished the sweep with a 4-1 win.

Next up for Callaway will be either Thomasville or Bacon County in the quarterfinals.

Hubbard got his 300th victory in game one, and he was presented with a plaque by athletics director Pete Wiggins recognizing the accomplishment.

“I didn’t hit one ball. I didn’t field one ball,” said Hubbard, who has also enjoyed a successful stint as the defensive coordinator on the Callaway football team. “There’s a lot of kids that bought into being coached hard. Somewhere along the line, they saw the gratification of that. They bought into it, and they believed in it.

“It also means you’ve been here a long time. You’ve been around for a long time. It’s a program thing. It’s not me. It’s a program deal. But I’m happy for it. I’m excited. I’m excited as much for my boys, and for my wife as anybody.”

The Cavaliers advanced thanks in large part to the excellence of the pitching.

Wright and Moore combined to pitch 14 innings while allowing zero earned runs, and Model managed just seven hits on the day.

“They were great,” said senior first baseman Braelin Mitchell, who had an RBI single in the first game. “They went out there and did it. They won those games, because we didn’t swing it as well as we could have. They were there to pick us up. They did their thing to help us out and get the win.”

Hubbard felt like both pitchers got stronger as the games went along.

“Dawson, he started getting his breaking ball across for a strike about the fifth inning,” Hubbard said. “And Moore, I felt like his velocity ticked up about the fifth inning.”

Model’s pitchers did a nice job as well, but Callaway did just enough offensively.

While Mitchell had the key hit in the first game, Jabari Smith, Brooks Bledsoe and Bryce Kurian had RBI hits in the second game.

“I thought we hit some balls hard at them,” Hubbard said. “We got some hits when we needed to. That’s how you win games. You’ve got to pitch, you’ve got to make plays, and you’ve got to make big pitches when it matters.”

Here’s a recap of each game:


Callaway 1, Model 0

Dawson Wright was in control.

The Callaway pitcher held Model to three hits and two walks, and he had five strikeouts.

The Cavaliers scored the game’s lone run in the bottom of the sixth inning, with Braelin Mitchell driving in Trent Sheppard with a base hit.

Wright, who was also the game one starter in the opening-round playoff series against Banks County, was eager to take the mound and hopefully set the tone for the series.

“I’ve always wanted the ball,” Wright said. “I’m thankful that coach (Dusty) Hubbard gave me the ball for game one.”

Wright was aided by some big-time defensive plays.

Most notably, third baseman Wesley Marchman made a phenomenal diving stop of a hard-hit ball that may have saved two runs in the sixth inning.

The Blue Devils had men on first and second when Daulton Waddell hit the ball down the third-base line. Marchman was able to dive and come up with the ball, and he stepped on third for the forceout.

Wright got the next batter to ground out for the third out, and it remained a scoreless game.

“We made some good defensive plays behind him,” Hubbard said. “That’s what you’ve got to do to win these games. It comes down to plays like that.”

The Cavaliers took the lead in their half of the sixth inning, and they overcame some adversity to make it happen.

Drake Wade led off the inning with a base hit, and he made it to second on the same play.

Still with no outs, a pitch got away from Model’s catcher, and Wade made it safely to third, and with the ball still rolling free he decided to try to scored. Wade was called out attempting to slide into home, and the game remained scoreless.

Two batters later, Sheppard stepped to the plate with two outs and no one on, and he hammered the ball into the outfield for a hit, and he stole second to get into scoring position.

That brought Mitchell to the plate, and he ripped the ball to center field for a base hit, and Sheppard raced home with the game’s one and only run.

“With somebody on second, I knew I needed to get a good pitch to hit, and put it where my runner could score,” Mitchell said. “He threw it right where I was looking for it, and I put a good swing on it.”

Mitchell was glad to be able to pick up Wade, who made the first out of the inning trying to score from second on a passed ball.

“That’s the game of baseball,” Mitchell said. “You’ve got to pick your teammates up. So when you’re down, they’ll be there for you.”

Armed with the lead, Wright set Model down in order in the top of the seventh to finish it.

Sheppard had two of the Cavaliers’ six hits, and Wade, Mitchell, Luke Swann and Walt Stewart each had a hit.


Callaway 4, Model 1

Model had no answer for Callaway freshman pitcher Justin Moore, who was in control from the get-go.

Moore held Model to four hits and one unearned run, and he had seven strikeouts.

“That’s real big, especially him being a freshman, to be able to come out and throw strikes,” said Dawson Wright, the game one pitching hero. “And then he threw a complete game.”

The Blue Devils scored an unearned run in the bottom of the first, but they didn’t cross home plate again.

Callaway scored single runs in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings, and that was plenty of support for Wright.

Jabari Smith, Brooks Bledsoe and Bryce Kurian each had RBI singles, and Walt Stewart had two hits.

The Cavaliers tied it with a run in the second inning.

After Smith singled and moved to second on a Bledsoe fielder’s choice, Stewart came to bat with one out.

Stewart got a perfectly-placed bunt down for a hit, and when the throw to first got away, Smith raced home with the tying run.

The Cavaliers took the lead with a run in the top of the third.

Marchman reached on a one-out error, and Sheppard followed with a base hit to put men on first and second.

Two batters later, Smith hit the ball on the ground through the left side of the infield to bring in Marchman with the go-ahead run.

In the fourth inning, Stewart led off with a base hit, and he later scored on Kurian’s single, and the Cavaliers led 3-1.

Callaway capped the scoring in the fifth inning.

Mitchell got things started with a one-out single, and he scored on Bledsoe’s RBI hit.

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