High School Baseball

EC can’t produce with bases loaded in loss

by Chris Goltermann


Photo by Jeffrey Leo

East Coweta shortstop Cary Holloway stabs a line-drive headed toward the outfield that started an inning-ending double play during Thursday’s non-region contest against visiting Chapel Hill.

East Coweta’s 4-2 loss to Chapel Hill at home on Thursday was a result of several factors. But none of them involved senior starting pitcher Austin Bellamy. As Bellamy pitched through six solid innings allowing just three hits, the Indians made five errors that led to a pair of unearned runs. At the plate, they also left 10 runners aboard including the bases loaded over three consecutive at bats. A spirited rally in the seventh that produced both of its runs may have made the loss all the more frustrating for East Coweta, which dropped its overall record to 4-5 on the season. “There were still five or six things that we’re not doing well and we’ve got to clean it up,” said head coach Franklin DeLoach. “We’re just got to get it figured out.”
The Indians didn’t go quietly, however, in more ways than one. Seniors Cam Smith and Matthew Meyer each drew walks to set up a two-run rally in the seventh, the latter on an eight-pitch at bat on an outing where the Indians managed two hits through six innings — only one of which landed in the outfield. But fellow senior Bryce Gemmel laced a 2-1 pitch from Chapel Hill left-handed reliever M.J. Rookard into the gap in right-center for an RBI hit, only to be called out at second on a relay that came in simultaneously with a head-first slide. It resulted in an emphatic argument from DeLoach, who was ultimately ejected. “Some of it was directed for the guys in purple,” said the Indians coach. “We have to step up and compete. We’re still struggling a little bit. I feel like we can get turned around.” While making a strong case on a night where the strike zone extended far below the knees, DeLoach knew that mistakes were as much a result of a 4-0 deficit after four innings. “We just can’t be making mistakes like that and expect to win games,” he said, adding of Bellamy’s effort. “He’s given us a chance to win every time he’s been out there so far this season. That’s all we can ask.” East Coweta went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position prior to Gemmel’s hit, managing to coax two walks out of Chapel Hill pitchers in the third, fourth and seventh innings. Three more Indians reached on Panthers error. Yet the hosts in white purple uniforms were unable to convert with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the second after a Panthers error, a catcher’s interference and Andrew Simms’ bloop single for the Indians’ first hit of the game. Chapel Hill starter Brandon Sattenfield worked out of that jam with a pair of strikeouts, as well as another the following inning in a similar situation — be it with some luck. Sattenfield recorded his fourth strikeout with the bases loaded in the third off two walks and a sharp single by Meyer before Indians sophomore Jaquez Williams drove a hard grounder that somehow found the glove of the Panthers’ first baseman as he turned his head away from the ball. East Coweta wasn’t nearly as fortunate in the field. Bellamy watched his defense drop a pair of flyballs over two innings, the first of which led to an unearned run in the top of the first. The latter was immediately subtracted when second baseman Cary Holloway stabbed a line drive to his left that seemed destined for the outfield before doubling up a Chapel Hill runner at first to end the inning. The Indians senior pitcher suffered through his roughest patch in the third, giving up all three Chapel Hill hits including an RBI double by Rookard for a 3-0 lead. With runners moving to second and third, Panthers cleanup hitter Jacob McClure successfully squeezed a run home after getting his bat on a high fastball. McClure ended up on second when a relay throw went wild past first, allowing Rookard to also score for a 4-0 Chapel Hill advantage. From there, Bellamy retired his final 10 batters, striking out the side in the fifth. The only runner to reach base came on a poor throw from home after a dropped third strike. Lefty Thomas Leone pitched a scoreless seventh, allowing a leadoff single that was erased when Holloway pulled in a hard grounder near second and fired to first for a double play. Holloway played second, shortstop and third in the game as DeLoach and assistants Brandon Blair and Mark Bowles continue to move players around. East Coweta entered the year with only three mainstays in the lineup returning and most recently found out they will be without junior pitcher Dalton Chocallo for the rest of the season. “We’re still shifting folks around to find out where they fit the best,” DeLoach said. “But we’re slowly running out of time.” Panthers 4, Indians 2 C. Hill 103 000 0 — 4 4 3 E. Coweta 000 000 2 — 2 3 6

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