Prep Baseball: East Coweta, McCurry put chill into South ForsythBy CHRIS GOLTERMANN
East Coweta baseball players may have come up with the best solution to handling another night of near freezing temperatures on the diamond.
Which was staying active on the bases — and then playing as few innings as possible.
East Coweta finished with eight hits, including two each by Geremy Walton, Jon Banks and Bryce Gemmel, the team’s No. 4- 6 hitters. All but one starter scored at least one run while also taking advantage of five South Forsyth errors, three of which came in the final inning.
The War Eagles (2-3) entered Friday coming off a 10-0 victory over Westlake on Wednesday.
“I think the guys did a wonderful job taking some team roles and responsibilities and putting the oar in the water,” said Indians head coach Franklin DeLoach. “The first four innings we left guys on base and we can’t consistently let that happen. But the guys had quality at bats, even when we weren’t getting on.”
Otherwise, though, the game belonged to the able right arm of Indians senior Zack McCurry, who pitched a one-hit shutout while striking out five and allowing four runners to reach over his five innings work.
McCurry’s strong effort, backed up by veteran catcher Blake Lorow, allowed East Coweta — which left five runners on base in its first four at bats — to slowly build on its lead with single runs in the first, third and fourth, the latter pair on two-out rallies.
“This score was deceiving. I mean, this was a pretty tight ballgame through four innings before it kinda got out of hand,” DeLoach said. “Zack was real steady for us and you’ve got to give Blake a lot of credit too.”
The Indians received contributions throughout the order while taking advantage of some shaky defense by the War Eagles on another bitterly cold and windy day where hard-hit balls seemed, at times, to have a mind of their own. Leadoff hitter Cam Smith’s long drive to deep right to open the game was mishandled for a triple, leading to an immediate 1-0 lead off a wild pitch one batter later.
After threatening again in the second and stranding a pair of runners, the Indians put together two-out rallies in the third and fourth.
Walton legged out an infield single into the hole at short and motored around the bases when Banks sailed a shot that carried over outfielder Michael Strait’s head in left before rolling toward the fence for an RBI double.
McCurry, who carried a no-hitter into the fourth, got out of his only jam after allowing a leadoff single to South Forsyth’s Zach Baus. The War Eagles later moved a runner into scoring position after a stolen base and a balk with one out, before a strikeout and a groundout ended the inning.
The senior right-hander threw just 63 pitches over five innings, 40 of which for strikes.
East Coweta, meanwhile, battled deep in the count throughout the game, drawing five walks, three of which came with two outs in the fourth to push its lead to 3-0. It started with a two-strike pass to No. 9 hitter Tim Manning, who walked twice and added an RBI on a sacrifice fly in the Indians’ seven-run fifth. Manning stole second and later scored on a wild pitch.
The Indians then batted around in the fifth while putting the ball in play for 10 consecutive at bats starting with back-to-back singles from Walton and Banks, the latter for another RBI hit. Gemmel added an RBI single of his own and after Lorow was robbed on a diving stop at third by South Forsyth’s Chase Farley, pinch-hitter Jordan Lewis fought-off a two-strike count for a hit of his own.
The game ended with three War Eagle errors over a span of four plate appearances, two of which came at short. Senior Cole Amtmann cleared the bases with a long fly ball to right that again was mishandled before ending up on third base.