High School Baseball

Cougars hold on against Northside-Columbus

Trailing by two runs less than three outs into Monday’s game against Northside-Columbus, Newnan head baseball coach Marc Gilmore admits his team could have folded, with a new-look lineup still trying to find solid footing during the non-region schedule.

The Cougars immediately responded for three runs of their own in the bottom of the first as pitchers Sawyer Steele and Brady Barnes shut down the Patriots the rest of the way for a 3-2 victory at Joe Pope Field.

“I’m very proud of the way we fought,” Gilmore said. “We got down in the first and we could have easily folded. They’re a very good team.”

Monday, however, was a chance for Newnan’s young pitching to shine with sophomores Steele and Barnes shutting down Northside’s bats.

Steele yielded two unearned runs in the first and then benefited from better defense over the next five-plus innings. He righty struck out five including the side in order in the fourth.

When trouble arose in the fifth with runners on first and second and the Patriots turning to a big left-handed hitter off the bench, Gilmore had to turn to Barnes with little time to get a lefty up in the bullpen in time.

“I asked him if he could give me ten pitches,” Gilmore said of Barnes. “He only needed eight.”

The two Cougar hurlers kept Newnan ahead despite equally struggling to solve Northside pitching in their final five at bats. All three runs came in the first on three hits.

Junior Caleb McElwaney drove in a pair with an RBI double into an outfield gap and scored on the Patriots’ next pitch when Tyler Davis singled his teammate home.

Northside pitching retired 12 consecutive Newnan batters heading into the sixth.

“We got our bats on the ball,” Gilmore said. “They just made plays.”

Now 3-5 overall, Newnan heads into today’s game against Chapel Hill, also at home while continuing non-region play. The Cougars won’t open the Region 3-AAAAAA schedule until March 25 when they start a three-game series with Douglas County.




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