High School Baseball
Indians break away from Northside late for 7-4 victory
After mirroring each other through five and a half innings, East Coweta had enough against Northside-Columbus on Monday at home.
Teams traded double plays in the second, each scored twice in the third and then traded two more runs in the sixth.
That’s when Indians put the game out of reach.
East Coweta’s capitalized on four walks, three hits and an error while extending its half of the sixth and Thomas Leone came on to pitch a scoreless seventh to cap off a 7-4 non-region victory over the Patriots, who were playing the last of three games against the county’s GHSA programs.
The Indians won their fourth straight game, improving to 8-5 heading into today’s game at Langston Hughes to open a three-game Region 3-AAAAAA series. East Coweta swept Tri-Cities last week to begin the division schedule at 3-0.
On Monday, Cam Smith, Nick Pippen, Stephen Cruver and Austin Jones each had two hits and Pippen and Cruver finished with a pair of RBIs including one apiece in a decisive sixth-inning against the Patriots (6-4), who used five pitchers that together allowed 10 walks.
Northside, who defeated Northgate 3-1 on Feb. 24 and then dropped a 3-2 decision at Newnan on March 10 again gave a local lineup all it could handle.
The Patriots outhit East Coweta 8-7 and added an unearned run off a pair of East Coweta errors against senior starter Austin Bellamy.
Bellamy retired five of his first six Northside batters and didn’t run into major trouble until the sixth on consecutive hits from the Patriots’ No. 4 and 5 hitters, Victor Ballesteros and D.J. Arroyo, the latter an RBI triple that put the team back ahead 3-2.
One batter later, sophomore Zack Williams pushed a single through the right side of the infield to score Ballesteros.
Bellamy struck out two over six innings while allowing three earned runs on eight hits without yielding a walk before his teammates came through at the plate to add a deserving victory to the effort.
Down again by two runs, East Coweta stayed patient, drawing a pair of one-out walks to Cory Holloway and Dominick Brown to put the tying runners aboard.
The Patriots then botched a grounder to short from senior Cam Smith that allowed Holloway to score, with both Brown and Smith moving into scoring position.
That set up Pippen’s clutch RBI single to left field that plated both runners, tying the game and equally giving the Indians a lead for good.
But the rally didn’t stop there.
Pippen, who moved to third on a walk and a fielder’s choice scored on a wild pitch to put East Coweta ahead 6-4.
Cruver, who tripled home Pippen with a clutch two-out hit in the third, then came through again with an RBI double to right field to finish off the rally.
Entering in relief to begin the seventh, Leone needed 10 pitches — seven of them strikes — as East Coweta’s infield turned the last of two double plays to close out the victory.
Indians 7, Patriots 4
Northside-Columbus 002 002 0 — 4 8 1
East Coweta 002 005 x — 7 7 2
WP – Austin Bellamy
LP - Murphy
TRINITY CHRISTIAN 24, LAGRANGE ACADEMY 0, four innings: On the road Monday, Josh Henry held LaGrange without a hit while improving his record to 3-0 on the mound for the Lions.
Henry had two hits and 3 RBIs in the victory as Trinity (4-4 overall) got back on track after a disappointing Region 1-AAA loss to Loganville Christian at home on Friday, falling 6-2.
On Monday, Devin Colburn had a homer and four walks as the Lions used a bevy of free passes from LaGrange pitchers to coast to an easy victory.
Trinity returns to 1-AAA play on Thursday against The Weber School.