East Coweta, Newnan ready for round two
by Doug Gorman
Only one chapter has been written in this week’s baseball series between East Coweta and Newnan.
So, East Coweta head coach Franklin DeLoach didn’t let his team do too much celebrating after Tuesday 12-1 victory over rival Newnan.
There is way too much baseball left to be played starting today and Friday.
With a standing-room only crowd at Joe Pope Field Tuesday, the three-game Region 3-AAAAAA contest has already taken on a playoff atmosphere, and with good reason. The winner of the series will likely take the Region 3-AAAAAA crown and a No. 1 seed into the state playoffs in two weeks.
The series between the two rivals shifts to East Coweta today and then back to Newnan on Friday. First pitch for both games is set for 6 p.m.
With the victory, East Coweta took a one-game lead in the 3-AAAAAA standings. That could evaporate immediately this afternoon should the Cougars be able to win today.
“We know the next two games are going to be tough,” DeLoach said. “Newnan is a very good team and we can’t let up. We are just happy to get that first win.”
Both teams entered the first game at Newnan’s Joe Pope Field with 9-0 region record. The Cougars were also riding a 12-game winning streak heading into game No. 1 of the contest, but they fell victims to ome of the Indians best offensive performances of the season.
East Coweta scored their 12 runs on 12 hits.
“We did a good job hitting the ball,” DeLoach said. “We know we have to go back to work at practice on Wednesday, because we know that is a good team across the field over there, and they are going to be ready for us.”
Despite his good game from the mound against the Cougars, Zach McCurry, who gave up just three hits, struckout three and walked one was his worst critic.
“To be honest with you, I didn’t really feel like I had my best stuff,” McCurry said.”My team really gave me a lift.”
East Coweta used some timely hitting to pull away the Cougars. With the Indians only leading 3-1 heading to the top of the sixth, a six-run explosion helped the cause.
The team’s offensive fireworks including a grand slam off the bat of third-baseman Jon Banks. In addition to his offensive firepower, Banks has also brought senior leadership into the series.
“It was so important for us to get that first game, especially on the road,” Banks said. “We know we can’t let up, we just have to keep playing our game.
“I am sure we are going to have a hard practice tomorrow,” he said.”We can overlook them.”
East Coweta kept the game close by making some spectacular defensive plays. The Indians’ outfield of Cam Smith, Geremy Walton and Cole Amtmann tracked down several hard-hit fly ball to keep Newnan base runners off the base paths.
“I felt like we hit the ball hard enough to win today, but the ball just didn’t fall,” Newnan head coach Kenny Morris said.
Morris also knows his team is talented enough to even the series on Thursday.
Like East Coweta, Newnan’s outfield of Rodney Tennie, Charles Reeves and Derrick Henry are speedy enough to chase down most balls hit in their direction.
Pitching could be key the rest of the way.
McCurry pitched six innings en route to the win for the Indians with Matthew Meyer tossing the seventh inning in relief.
DeLoach can also hand the ball to Amtmann, Austin Bellamy, Brandon Rustin, Jay Mann, or Gemmel.
Newnan used three pitchers in Tuesday loss, including starter Thomas Sumner, Beau Shelnutt, and Derrick Nelson.
Morris also has the option of handing the ball to Brandon Dawson, Will Dreggors, Blake Payne, Zach Crawford, Tanner Snellgrove, Jonathan Swenson, Jake Kneidel, and Grayson Stewart.
Today’s likely starters are Bellamy for the Indians and Dawson for the Cougars.
Dawson hasn’t allowed a run over his last two starts while Bellamy fired a one-hitter at Douglas
Despite the importance of this series, both teams have one more Region 3-AAAAAA series next week.
East Coweta plays Westlake, including two games at home, while Newnan takes on Langston Hughes, with only the middle game of the series at home.