High School Baseball
Chapel Hill gets revenge against Newnan
by Doug Gorman
Newnan first-year baseball coach Marc Gilmore didn’t pass the buck Tuesday afternoon after the Cougars lost to visiting Chapel Hill 11-4 in a non-region contest at Joe Pope Field.
The Cougars gave up 12 hits and committed two errors against their guest in a game that wasn’t really close as Chapel Hill avenged a 4-2 loss to Newnan on March 4 in Douglasville.
“We weren’t prepared tonight, offensively, defensively and pitching wise, and that is on me. I will take the blame for tonight,” Gilmore said. “ I have to have them better prepared.”
With the loss, Newnan fall to 3-8. Chapel Hill improved to 9-2.
Newnan finished the game with seven hits and scored lone runs in the third, fourth, sixth and seventh inning, but never could generate enough of a rally to get back in the game.
“The Cougars’ less than stellar performance comes nearly 24 hours after it defeated Northside-Columbus 3-2 Monday night.
Any thoughts they had about a winning streak ended with Chapel Hill’s five-run explosion in the fifth.
The Panthers, who finished with four RBI doubles, scored runs off of three Newnan pitchers including starter Matt Thomley who took the loss, and Sam Sowerbrower and Heys Rowan who worked in relief.
Newnan showed some signs of life in the bottom of the third when it scored its first run of the game to cut the Panthers margin to 4-1.
Chase Jones started the potential rally for the Cougars getting hit by pitch to leadoff the inning. He scored two batters later when Jake Kneidel ripped an RBI double.
However, the momentum did last long as the Chapel Hill added a run in the top of the fourth to go up 5-1 on Brandon Petersen’s RBIs triple.
Newnan had its best chance to put a rally together in the bottom of the fourth when Connor Dunn and Jones were hit by pitches and Tyler Davis reached on a base hit, but the Cougars settled for just one run when Drew Oldham picked up an RBI on a ground out to cut the lead to 5-2.
The Panthers then sent nine batters to the plate for the Panthers in the fifth with Jacob McClure and pinch hitter Pavin Peters reaching with doubles and scoring to highlight Chapel Hills’ most productive inning.
Newnan tried to make some noise with a run in the sixth when Walker Sandlin ripped a pinch hit RBI single the to trim the lead to 11-3.
The Cougars also added their final run of in the bottom of the seventh when Caleb McElwaney doubled in Justin Groover.
Gilmore knows his team is inexperienced, but it won’t use that has an excuse.
“We just have tomorrow and go to work,” he said. “We can’t feel sorry for ourselves.”
Monday’s win over Northside-Columbus, meanwhile, was a chance for Newnan’s young pitching to shine with sophomores Sawyer Steele and Blake 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.
Both teams scored all of its runs in the first inning.
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.”
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.
PANTHERS 11, COUGARS 4
CHAPEL HILL 112 115 0—11 12 1
NEWNAN 001 101 1—4 7 1