High School Baseball
Indians able to stay on top in region series
by Doug Gorman
East Coweta's baseball team took a gigantic step toward a Region 3-AAAAAA championship with a 10-6 eight inning victory over rival Newnan on the road Thursday at Joe Pope Field.
The second contest of this week's threegame series was much closer than Wednesday 's 8-1 decision by the Indians.
With the victory, East Coweta pushes its overall record to 17-5 and 11-0 in region play, but Thursday's win was the Indians' closest by far in 3-AAAAAA play.
Newnan fell to 8-11 overall and 5-3 in the region.
The final game of the series returns to East Coweta tonight.
Twice the Cougars took leads, first building an 3-0 advantage after four innings and then coming within three outs of a victory after grabbing a 4-3 lead heading into the top of the seventh.
Yet, East Coweta spun momentum in its direction for the final two innings. The Indians fought back in the seventh to take its first lead on a three-run rally and then responded with four more in the eighth to pull away.
'I think everybody got their money's worth tonight,' said East Coweta head coach Franklin Deloach. 'Both teams played hard and this is what high school baseball is all about.'
Newnan left-hander Tyler Snellgrove gave the Cougars the boost they were looking for early on Thursday. The senior allowing just one hit while facing the minimum through three innings.
The Cougars staked him to a 3-0 lead scoring twice in the second and one in the third.
Chase Jones' perfectly executed squeeze bunt drove in one of the runs in the second inning to spark the offense.
Caleb McElwaney ripped an RBI double for the Cougars third run of the game.
'We certainly had our chances,' said Newnan head coach Marc Gilmore. 'A game like this can go one of two ways. We can learn from this and come out ready to play [Friday], or we can roll over. I have confidence we will come out and get after it.'
SEE BASEBALL, Page 8 Vikings fall to Union Grove, Page 8
East Coweta right-fielder Stephan Cruver keeps his eye on the ball during a diving catch during Thursday's Region 3-AAAAAA game against Newnan.
PHOTO BY JEFFREY LEO
Newnan senior Justin Groover beats out a single during Thursday's Region 3-AAAAAA game at home with East Coweta.
PHOTO BY JEFFREY LEO
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The Indians put themselves back in the game with a twoout rally in the fourth on RBI doubles from seniors Bryce Gemmel and Matt Meyer.
'We were real fortunate tonight,' DeLoach said. 'We got breaks there at the end.'
East Coweta tied the game at 3-all in the bottom of the third when sophomore Devonte Brown reached on an error and later scored on a passed ball.
The lead didn't last long.
Newnan regained an advantage in the in the bottom of the sixth when Brady Barnes drove in Justin Groover.
Needing three outs in the seventh, the Cougars got the first before East Coweta scored three times thanks to RBIs by Gemmel and Nick Pippin along a passed ball to take a 6-4 lead.
The Cougars used RBI doubles Jones and K.D. Satterwhite to send the game into extra innings.
In the eighth, however, the Indians scored four times. Senior Cam Smith knocked in two and Gemmel added his third RBI of the game.
Newnan put one base runner on board in the eighth when Connor Dunn reached on an error, but the Indians turned the double play to get out of the inning.
East Coweta starting pitcher Thomas Leone went five innings, but teammate Tyler Exley picked up the win in relief.
Newnan senior Jake Kneidel, who returned from a broken finger this week and finished with two hits on Thursday, entered the game in relief with one out in the sixth and took the loss.
'There is still a lot of baseball left to be played, 'Gilmore said. 'We just have to keep playing hard. The good thing is we are in the playoffs.'
INDIANS 10, COUGARS 6
E.Coweta 000 213 4 -10 6 1 Newnan 021 001 2 -6 5 1 WP -Tyler Exley LP - Jake Kneidel