High School Baseball
Young East Coweta hopes to weather key losses
by Doug Gorman
After an abnormally bitter winter, East Coweta head baseball coach Franklin DeLoach might be the first to tell you his team could use a few weeks of spring training in Florida.
Unfortunately, the Indians don’t share the same advantages of the Atlanta Braves in the warm sunshine this month.
Instead, East Coweta will just have to hope for a break in the weather and some warmer temperatures heading into Monday’s rescheduled scrimmage against McIntosh.
“Basketball is still going on so we can throw in the gym, so really about all we have been able to do is work in the cages,” Deloach said. “In all my time coaching, I don’t remember a winter like this. We just haven’t been able to practice. Some teams practice on Sundays, but I just won’t do that. We need some time we our families.”
Lately, however, the weatherman hasn’t shown too much cooperation, letting everybody know it is still winter.
Heading into a week that included two cancelled days of school, the Indians only had three full practices under their belts.
“We really are not ready,” Deloach said.”We just haven’t had the practice time. Our pitchers need more work.”
The Indians come into the season trying to replace 11 seniors, including pitcher Zack McCurry, who had nearly half of East Coweta’s 28 wins in 2013.
McCurry went 13-1 as a senior while earning Newnan Times-Herald Pitcher of the Year honors.
“That’s a lot of wins we are giving up,” Deloach said.
East Coweta spent most of last season ranked No. 1 in the Georgia Dugout Club Class AAAAAA Coaches' poll, but finds itself trying to reload following a 28-5 record and a trip to the Elite 8.
In addition to its former ace, the Indians will need to find replacements for starters Tim Manning at second, Jon Banks at third and Geremy Walton in the outfield following similar All-County seasons.
Austin Bellamy returns as the team’s most veteran pitcher after earning honorable mention accolades on last year’s All-County team.
Outfielder Cam Smith, third baseman Bryce Gemmel and first baseman Matt Myers also bring back plenty of experience to the Indians’ lineup.
At the top of the order, Smith batted .333 last season with 35 runs scored and 22 stolen bases. He also had an on-base percentage of .455.
Gemmel batted .413 as Deloach and his staff used the senior at several different positions last season including designated hitter.
Catcher Austin Jones is also back for his senior year after dividing his time behind the plate with Blake Lorow.
In addition to replacing McCurry’s arm, pitchers Cole Amtmann, Brandon Ruston, and Jacob Mann contributed to East Coweta’s pitching success, but have also graduated.
Right-handed pitchers Dalton Chocallo and Tyler Exley saw time on the JV squad last season, but will be part of the rotation this year.
East Coweta doesn’t have an experienced left-handed pitcher, but sophomore Thomas Leone and Mason Meyer expect to get a chance on the varsity.
“Finding a left hander is going to be key us,” Deloach said.
East Coweta will play three-games series against all of its Region 3-AAAAAA opponents, including Newnan starting April 15.
The Indians will play two games against the Cougars at home, with the second game of the series at Newnan.
“The guys we gave coming back are ready to get after it,” Deloach said. “We just have to get a break in the weather. We need some good practices, especially our pitchers.”
East Coweta Baseball Schedule
Feb. 19 at Northgate Noon
Feb. 21 South Forsyth 5:55
Feb. 25 Lamar County 5:30
Feb. 26 Whitewater 5:30
Mar. 7 at Troup 5:30
Mar. 25 * at Langston Hughes 5:30
Mar. 27 * Langston Hughes 5:30
Mar. 28 * at Langston Hughes 5:30
April 1 * Douglas County 5:30
April 3 * Douglas County 5:30
April 4 * Douglas County 5:30\
April 10 Lovejoy 2:00
April 15 *Newnan 5:30
April 17 *at Newnan 5:30
April 18 *Newnan 5:55
April 21 *at Westlake 5:30
April 23 *Westlake 5:30
April 25 *Westlake 5:30
* REGION 3-AAAAAA