Prep Baseball Roundup
East Coweta, Newnan finish off region sweeps
by Chris Goltermann
During some weeks of the Region 3-AAAAAA schedule, baseball may seem monotonous for East Coweta. This was one of them.
But the Indians handled a 12-2 victory over Langston Hughes as business as usual for a team that finished the first month of the high school season undefeated.
Zach McCurry allowed a bunt single through four innings and joined reliever Jay Mann in a 10-strikeout effort over five innings as East Coweta turned up the offense as the game continued before ending early by way of the mercy rule.
The win pushed East Coweta’s undefeated record to 12-0 and more importantly 3-0 in 3-AAAAAA following the Indians’ first three-game region series. The team plays a makeup on Monday at home against Lovejoy before opening a three-game region series with Douglas County (4-9, 0-3).
It also allowed the Indians to keep pace with crosstown Newnan, which finished off a sweep of Douglas County on Friday with a 5-1 victory. The rivals already look to be on a collision course for an eventual showdown the week of April 15 for what could crown this year’s region champion.
Newnan (10-3, 3-0) was able to cap off three-straight wins over the Tigers this week despite losing starting pitcher Tanner Snellgrove to an injury. Junior Jake Kneidel gave up a run off just three hits in six innings of relief.
East Coweta arms were equally dominant on Friday. The Panthers didn’t get the ball to the outfield until their final at-bat while unable to solve McCurry, whose slinging fastball with a sidearm delivery caught Hughes batters off guard all game.
Despite allowing a run off a walk, a bunt single on a diving attempt to McCurry’s right off the mound and two hit batsmen, he was in control throughout while needing just a shade over 50 pitches, striking out eight and walking one.
The run allowed the Panthers to pull within a 2-1 deficit, but McCurry ended his outing with four consecutive strikeouts and a popout while managing just one more baserunner the rest of the way.
Mann allowed an unearned run off consecutive throwing errors in the fifth on a stolen-base attempt, striking out two, including a final one to end the game.
“We did what we were supposed to do. When you play a format like this, it can get kinda monotonous seeing the same players on the other side. But I thought we did a good job focusing on the task at hand,” said East Coweta head coach Franklin DeLoach. “We’ve got some things we still need to polish up. Zach pitched well and Jay got some work in too.”
Outside of containing a leak in the early morning hours that flooded right-field near the outfield wall and nearly caused Friday’s game to be postponed, the Indians didn’t get much of a scare while finishing with 14 hits. Seven of nine starters in the lineup finished with at least one hit and seven more drove in runs led by Cam Smith’s 4 RBI effort.
After a slow start at the plate that produced lone runs in the first and second innings off four combined hits, the Indians busted a 2-0 lead open with a six-run third inning off seven hits while sending 10 men to the plate.
Cam Smith, who went 3-for-3 with a walk, drove in a run with his second hit of the game on a single to left-field. The rally ended with Jonathan Banks posting his second hit of the inning, a single in the same direction that drove in its final run for a 8-1 lead.
Fellow senior Cole Amtmann went 3-for-4 with one of three East Coweta doubles. Matthew Meyer, Travis Williams and Tim Manning each finished 2-for-3.
Meyer’s nine-pitch at bat to open the bottom of the second helped reestablish the Indians’ patience at the plate after Hughes’ starter successfully worked his way around the corners with his curve ball. After falling behind 0-2, Meyer drew a walk and scored after consecutive bunt singles and Smith’s first RBI single to right-center off a 1-0 pitch.
After scoring six runs in the third, East Coweta added four more in the bottom of the fourth after Blake Lorow and Williams drew consecutive walks. Manning followed with an RBI double to right-center before Smith singled sharply up the middle to score two more Indian runs.
NEWNAN 5, DOUGLAS COUNTY 1: Despite losing starting pitcher Tanner Snellgrove to an injury after just one inning, junior Jake Kneidel carried the Cougars on the mound as Newnan wrapped up a three-game sweep of the Tigers to open Region 3-AAAAAA play.
Kneidel surrendered just one run on three hits in the win. Brandon Dawson, Devin Henry, Will Dreggors and Charles Reeves all had doubles to pace Newnan’s offense.
Complete results on the game were unavailable at deadline.