High School Baseball
Newnan rallies past Douglas County 10-5
by Doug Gorman
With gusty winds kicking up infield dirt, and temperatures dropping into the 40s by the end of the game, it didn’t feel like baseball weather at Joe Pope Field.
Yet Newnan overcame Tuesday’s elements and one bad inning to beat Douglas County 10-5 to open a three-game Region 3-AAAAA series this week.
The two teams will meet again on Thursday in Douglas County, before closing out the series back in Newnan on Friday.
The Cougars’ victory on Tuesday — off the heels of a disappointing loss to Westlake last week — could be a sign things are starting to head in the right direction for a Cougars team that entered the year with a new lineup from top to bottom.
On Tuesday, Newnan’s No. 8 and 9 hitters Chase Jones and Drew Oldham combined for 7 RBIs.
“A game like this makes you grow up,” said Newnan head coach Marc Gilmore. “But we have played enough games, the inexperienced thing is out the window.”
Newnan side-armer Chris Turner entered the game in relief of starter Tanner Snellgrove in the fourth and picked up the win after the Cougars rallied from a 4-3 deficit in the fourth inning with a four-run explosion.
Newnan which improved to 1-1 in region play and 4-9 overall, outhit the Tigers 10-5 getting help from the bottom of the order en route to the victory.
Douglas County fell to 0-1 in 3-AAAAAA and 6-5 overall.
The Cougars played error-free baseball en route to their first region victory while Oldham — in the No. 9 spot — finished with 5 RBIs to pace Newnan’s offense in addition to playing solid defense at second base.
Jones knocked in two runs for the Cougars, hitting out of the No. 8 spot and perfectly executed a squeeze bunt that drove in a run as part of the team’s fourth-inning rally.
“The bottom of the order really carried us today,” Gilmore said.
Newnan took control of the game early, scoring three in the bottom of the second inning on RBIs from Tyler Davis and Jones.
Snellgrove looked unhittable through two innings, striking out five of the first six batters he faced.
But things turned in the Douglas County’s favor with a run in the third and three more in the top of the fourth to take a 4-3 lead.
The Tigers took advantage of control problems from Snellgrove in the top of the fourth after he walked five batters in the inning, three of which eventually scored before Turner came on to get out of the jam with a strikeout and a groundout.
Douglas County’s lead didn’t last long thanks to the Cougars’ fourth-inning rally paced by Jones suicide squeeze and Oldham’s two-run single.
“I am really pleased with the way we battled back,” Gilmore said. “Teams are going to have big innings against you, but if you can answer the bell usually you can get the momentum back.”
Newnan added two insurance runs in the fifth and one in the sixth to seal the victory.
Douglas County added its final run of the game in the fifth.
Justin Groover finished the game with a double and Oldham smacked a triple to go along with his 3-for-3 performance.
Gilmore is happy with the way his team stay focused in less ideal baseball conditions.
“Mother Nature has been very mad at high school baseball players and coaches this year,” Gilmore said. “It’s mental, the game doesn’t change. What you are supposed to do on the mound, at the plate and in the field is the same. It comes down to are you tough enough, and are you going to battle through it”
COUGARS 10, TIGERS 5
DOUGLAS COUNTY 001 310 0—5 5 2
NEWNAN 030 421X—10 10 0