One-game season for Cavaliers
Published 2:39 am Wednesday, May 15, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
The Callaway Cavaliers and Rockmart Yellow Jackets split a pair of games on Tuesday in their Class AA state semifinal series, forcing a winner-take-all game on Wednesday at 5 p.m.
The winner advances to the state-championship series next week, while the season will be over for the losing team.
Callaway held on for a 5-4 victory in Tuesday’s first game, and Rockmart’s Ty Floyd delivered a brilliant and over-powering performance to lead his team to a 4-0 victory in game two.
Floyd, who has committed to LSU, threw a no-hitter, and he struck out 18 of the 22 batters he faced.
It’s the second straight year Callaway has faced a game three in the state semifinals.
Callaway lost to Benedictine in last year’s game three, and the players and coaches are hoping for a different outcome this time around.
“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” said senior outfielder and pitcher Walt Stewart. “We’re prepared for it. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
In Tuesday’s first game, the Cavaliers rallied from a 3-0 deficit to secure the come-from-behind win.
Leading 5-3, the Cavaliers thought they’d won it in the bottom of the seventh when they turned what appeared to be a game-ending double play.
After the runner at first was initially called out, though, the umpires reversed that decision after huddling, so the game wasn’t over.
The Yellow Jackets pushed a run across to get within a run and had the bases loaded when Stewart got a pop-out to end it.
Like all of his teammates, Stewart believed the game was over with the double play, so he had to re-focus.
“I just had to trust myself, and trust the defense behind me,” Stewart said. “And it worked out.”
The Cavaliers began their comeback in the top of the fifth inning.
After Drake Wade walked and Wesley Marchman singled, Trent Sheppard came through with a two-run triple to get the Cavaliers within one.
Braelin Mitchell followed with an RBI double, and the game was tied.
The Cavaliers took the lead with a pair of runs in the sixth inning, and all the damage came with two outs.
Walt Stewart reached on a two-out hit, and he came home with the go-ahead run on Bryce Kurian’s clutch RBI single.
Kurian later stole third and scored on an error to give the Cavaliers a 5-3 lead.
Rockmart made things interesting in the bottom of the seventh, but Callaway survived.
Sheppard had three hits and two RBIs for Callaway, and Marchman also had three hits.
Kurian and Mitchell each had a hit and an RBI, and Stewart had a hit.
Dawson Wright started and pitched 4 1/3 innings, giving up three hits and three runs, although only one of the runs was earned.
It took four Callaway pitchers to get the final eight outs.
Austin Barber pitched one scoreless inning, and Jabari Smith got two outs without a run scoring.
After Tucker Starling gave up a pair of hits, Stewart came in with two men on and no outs in the bottom of the seventh and finished things off.
In game two, Callaway had no answer for Floyd, who was two outs away from a perfect game when he walked Marchman with one out in the seventh inning.
Justin Moore started and worked six strong innings for Callaway, giving up six hits and two earned runs.
Barber pitched the seventh inning for Callaway.
Brayden Cole hit a solo home run for Rockmart.
“We just got dominated in game two,” Callaway head coach Dusty Hubbard said. “The good thing is we kept it close enough where (Rockmart’s coach) was scared to go with somebody else. That was kind of the game plan. I wish we could have pushed the pitch count up a little more, because he still has 25, 30 pitches tomorrow.”