Late rally lifts Cavaliers past Braves
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
Another day, another come-from-behind win for the Callaway Cavaliers.
On Friday, Callaway rallied from a run down in the final inning to earn a dramatic, walk-off 3-2 win over the Temple Tigers.
Four days later, the Cavaliers found themselves trailing by a run late in the game against the rival Heard County Braves, and they pushed three runs across in the bottom of the sixth inning to earn a 5-3 home victory.
Callaway (12-4 overall) improved to 3-1 in Region 5-AA in the first of three games this week against Heard County.
The series will shift to Heard County on Friday for a doubleheader, with the first game starting at 4:30 p.m.
Heard County scored a run in the top of the sixth inning to take a 3-2 lead, but Callaway answered in the bottom of the inning.
Kaden Rogers tied it with an RBI single, and Eli Freeman drove in two runs on a two-out base hit to give the Cavaliers the lead.
Tucker Starling, who entered the game with one out in the top of the seventh in relief of Justin Moore, got two groundouts to end the suspense and give the Cavaliers the win.
“We don’t quit,” said Freeman. “No matter how far we’re down, we keep fighting until it’s over.”
Rogers had a big night for the Cavaliers with two hits and three RBIs, and head coach Dusty Hubbard wasn’t surprised to see the senior have a breakout game.
“He’s been struggling a little bit and we moved him down in the order a little bit, hoping he’d get more fastballs,” Hubbard said. “Lately he’s been swinging better, and I knew it was just a matter of time to where he settled in.”
Rogers had a two-run double in the fourth inning to give the Cavaliers a 2-1 lead, and he came through again during the decisive sixth inning with the game-tying hit.
“It felt really good to be able to do that for my team,” Rogers said.
Moore, the winning pitcher, also got it done at the plate with two hits, a walk, and two runs, CJ Stephens had two hits and two runs scored, and Freeman had two hits and two RBIs.
On the mound, Moore got the hard-earned win.
Moore pitched 6 1/3 innings, and he worked around six hits to hold Heard County to three runs, and only one of those runs was earned.
Moore also had eight strikeouts, and he didn’t walk anyone.
After Moore hit a batter in the top of the seventh, Hubbard decided to let Starling finish things off, and the junior only needed four pitches to get the final two outs.
“He came in and got two groundballs, and got us out of it,” Hubbard said. “I felt like Moore had thrown a lot of high-stress pitches, and he was probably about done.”
Drew Cornelius threw a six-inning complete game for Heard County, and he also had an RBI single.
Will Alford had an RBI single for Heard County, Chance Brown had two hits, and Isaiah O’Neal had a hit and two runs scored.
Heard County jumped on top with a single run in the top of the fourth inning.
Isaiah O’Neal led off with a double, and he came around to score when John Paul Aubrey reached on an error.
The Cavaliers came right back with two runs in the bottom of the fourth to take the lead.
Moore got the rally started with a one-out walk, and Stephens followed with a base hit to put two men on.
Two batters later, Rogers ripped the ball over the center fielder’s head for a two-run double, and Callaway led 2-1.
The Braves answered with a single run in the top of the fifth inning on a Cornelius RBI single, and they took the lead on Alford’s base hit in the top of the sixth.
Callaway’s sixth-inning rally began with a Moore walk with one out, and Stephens reached on a bunt single.
Two batters later with two outs, Rogers tied it with an RBI single, and Jimmie Dukes reached on an infield single.
Next up was Freeman, whose hard-hit grounder made it through the infield, and two runs scored to give Callaway a 5-3 lead.
“I was just thinking, the bases loaded are two outs, just try to make something happen,” Freeman said. “Hit it on the ground, and don’t hit a flyball, and that’s what I did.”