High School Baseball
EC overcomes slow start to knock off Tri-Cities
by Doug Gorman
It may not go down as a dominating performance, but East Coweta’s baseball team pieced together enough timely hitting and relied on stellar pitching from two of its more inexperienced arms en route to an 8-1 win over Tri-Cities in the Region 3-AAAAAA opener.
The win moves the Indians to 5-5 overall and 1-0 in region play. Tri-Cities fell to 0-7 and 0-1.
Tri-Cities arrived more than 45 minutes late because of problems with their bus, but didn’t seemed to be bothered by the short warm up time, keeping the game close for the first three innings before the Indians broke open a 2-1 game with a six-run rally in the fourth inning.
Veteran coach Franklin DeLoach sat out Wednesday’s game on the first of a two-game suspension following an ejection late in East Coweta’s game against Chapel Hill last week.
He will also sit out tonight’s game when the Indians and Bulldogs play the second of the three-game series tonight in East Point before returning to the dugout Friday for the 3-AAAAAA series finale.
East Coweta picked up a strong pitching performance from freshman left-hander Mason Meyer who struck out nine through four innings en route to the win.
Meyer allowed just three hits, including two singles, as well as Tri-Cities only run in the top of the second before pitching out of the jam to strike out the side.
After the Bulldogs reached on an error to start the third, Meyer recovered with three straight strikeouts.
The young lefty also set down the Bulldogs in order in the fourth, including a strikeout.
Meyer gave up his third hit of the game and hit a batter, in the fifth, his last inning of work, but again he pitched out of the trouble coaxing the Bulldogs into three straight outs.
Tyler Exley pitched the final two innings for the Indians setting down all six men he faced, and striking out four.
“We are having to pitch some young guys. We are just trying to let the get their feet wet,” said Indians assistant head coach Brandon Blair. “What we really want Meyer to do is throw strikes. We just want him to give us a chance to win. Exley game in and gave us to could innings.”
Neither pitcher walked a batter.
“If we don’t walk batters that is going to give us a chance to win,” Blair said.
Offensively the Indians were led by leadoff hitter Cam Smith and Bryce Gemmel who each poked triples en route to the region-opening victory.
Smith finished the game with a 3-for-4 performance.
His triple to start the bottom of the first led to the first run of the game when he scored on Gemmel’s groundout.
Tri-Cities manufactured its only run of the game in the top of the second inning, getting a leadoff hit and stolen base to put a runner in scoring position.
The Bulldogs tied game two batters later with their second hit of the inning.
East Coweta took the lead for good when Grant Simon walked and later scored from third on a wild pitch after Smith singled and Gemmel also walked to load the bases.
The Indians opened the offensive floodgates in the fourth sending 11 men to the plate while adding the final six runs of the game.
Tri-Cities hurt itself defensively in the inning when its centerfielder dropped a fly ball off the bat of third baseman Cary Holloway resulting in two runs.
From there, things went from bad to worse for the Bulldogs.
Matt Meyer brought home Simon up an RBI in the inning on a fielder’s choice, but it was Gemmel’s two-run triple that turned into the big blow for the Indians.
Smith, Garrett Bean and Devonte Brown also scored after picking up base hits in the inning.
“We did a good job battling,” Blair said. “There pitcher was pretty darn good, but we made competed and we made him throw a lot pitches and eventually he got tired.”
TRI-CITIES 010 100 0—1 3 2
EAST COWETA 101 600 x—8 9 2
WP — Mason Meyer
LP — Booker