Moore’s dominant performance powers Cavaliers
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
A five-run sixth inning and an overpowering pitching performance by Justin Moore lifted the Callaway Cavaliers to a come-from-behind 5-2 win over visiting Haralson County on Tuesday.
The Cavaliers were trailing 2-0 when they pushed five runs across in the sixth inning, and Moore set the Rebels down in order in the top of the seventh to finish things off.
Moore, a junior right-hander, gave up a pair of early runs, but once he settled into the game he was untouchable, and he finished with a remarkable 15 strikeouts.
Moore gave up six hits and single runs in the first and third innings, and 15 of the 21 outs he recorded were by strikeout.
After giving up a solo home run with one out in the top of the third inning, Moore held Haralson County scoreless the rest of the way.
Callaway (13-6 overall) improved to 5-3 in Region 5-AA, and it is scheduled to play two games at Haralson County on Friday.
“I just had to keep us in the game the best I could, because I felt like at the end of the game we’d come through and win,” said Moore, who at one point struck out six straight batters.
Moore, the ace of the Callaway rotation, gave his team a chance to win, as he almost always does when he’s on the mound.
“He just commanded the strike zone, mostly with his fastball today,” said Callaway head coach Dusty Hubbard. “He was able to locate his fastball and throw the ball by some guys. I thought he did a really good job. I thought he had a heck of a game. Anytime you strike out 15, you’ve got good stuff that day. That was big.”
Haralson County’s Carson Ray was also terrific on the mound, although he did it in a different way.
The left-handed Ray only had one strikeout, but until the sixth inning, he managed to keep the Cavaliers off the scoreboard.
“He throws a lot of breaking balls, throws a lot of strikes,” Hubbard said of Ray. “He’s going to make you earn it. And they played pretty solid defense behind him.”
It all changed in the fateful sixth inning.
CJ Stephens and Bryce Hubbard got things started with back-to-back hits, and Tucker Starling reached on a bunt single to load the bases.
That brought Moore to the plate, and he drove the ball into right field for the RBI single, and the Cavaliers were within one.
Ray got the next two batters without a run scoring and it looked like he might get out of the inning with his team still on top, but Starling scored on a wild pitch to deadlock the score at 2-2.
Jacob Miles then put the ball in play to the right side of the infield, and when the throw to first went awry, two runs scored on the error to give the Cavaliers a 4-2 lead.
Another Haralson County error on a groundball hit by Jimmie Dukes gave the Cavaliers a 5-2 lead.
“In that inning, we didn’t kill the ball into the gap or anything,” Hubbard said. “We put the barrel on the ball, and made them make plays. That’s got to be our philosophy. We haven’t hit a home run all year. So, let’s hit line drives and hard ground balls.”
Haralson County took a 1-0 lead on an RBI single by Lane King in the first inning, and Tucker Parrish had a solo home run in the third inning.