Prep Baseball: Sumner, Swenson pace Newnan to shutout win
By CHRIS GOLTERMANN
Even with the way Newnan was swinging its bats on Wednesday, three hits typically isn’t enough to win a high school baseball game.
It certainly was with Thomas Sumner on the mound.
Newnan, which defeated Northside-Columbus 8-2 on Tuesday, improved to 6-3 overall while Griffin dropped its third straight game while falling to 6-3.
Sumner, who held Bears hitters to a .087 average, allowed just two runners to reach second while giving up two singles and two walks over seven innings. He threw 95 pitches, more than 60 of which were for strikes in a dominating effort.
“He pitched great,” said Newnan head coach Kenny Morris of Sumner, who retired nine straight batters after allowing two consecutive Bears to reach in the top of the second inning. “He consistently stayed ahead in the count. The thing about him was even when he let a runner on, he went right after the next guy.”
The Cougars were held to just three hits — two of which came on RBI singles by first baseman Jonathan Swenson — but they also took advantage of Griffin starting pitcher Thrayland Lowe’s struggles in the strike zone.
Lowe, who went to the dugout twice during one inning to attend to his pitching hand, never was able to get settled while also allowing seven walks and a hit batsman. All four Newnan run scorers reached base one way or the other.
Griffin’s infield turned a pair of double-plays, both started by shortstop Quantico Dodson, to keep the Bears in the game.
“We talked before the game about carrying things over from [Tuesday’s] win,” Morris said a day after defeating Northside-Columbus 8-2 on the road. “For the number of hits we had, I thought we hit the ball hard.”
(To view photos from this game, please visit http://photos.times-herald.com/mycapture and click on Sports for the Photo Gallery.)
Swenson did the majority of the necessary damage with a pair of clutch run-scoring hits starting with a two-out single in the third. The Cougars’ towering senior first-baseman drove the ball the other way to right, scoring fleet-footed senior Rodney Tennie all the way from first for a 2-0 lead on Newnan’s first hit of the game.
Tennie smartly drew a four-pitch walk after Lowe retired his first two batters in the inning on two pitches, giving Sumner extra time to rest between innings.
Swenson came through again in the fifth after Jake Kniedel was plunked and Devin Henry walked to open the bottom of the inning. He drove his first pitch from Lowe to left-field for a 2 RBI single to essentially put the game away.
Swenson finished 2-for-3 while pinch hitter Justin Groover had the Cougars other hit to lead off the seventh.
Newnan looked sharp other ways, playing near-perfect in the field minus an overthrow by Sumner while aggressively throwing to second on Montigo Dodson’s sacrifice bunt attempt in the second. The Cougar ace sat down his next three batters in order to end the threat including a strikeout of Otavius Williams.
Catcher Sam Buchanan helped erase Griffin’s Tripp Bridges after the Bears third baseman lead off the fifth with his team’s final hit. After dropping a pitch that got away to his left, Buchanan quickly ran the ball down and fired to second
Sumner began the fourth with consecutive strikeouts, battling back from a 3-1 count to retire leadoff hitter Keyson Fuller.
Heads-up baserunning helped give the Cougars a quick 1-0 lead in the first by way of two walks, a groundout and a balk by Lowe that scored Derrick Nelson. Courtesy runner Drew Morris forced it after getting a huge jump on the Bears pitcher while attempting to steal second.
Newnan now has five days off after a short week before resuming play Monday at Pike County.