High School Baseball
Newnan starts ‘long week’ with short outing
by Chris Goltermann
Faced with more games than days left in the regular season, Newnan couldn’t have scripted a better start to a busy final week of baseball action in Region 3-AAAAAA.
The Cougars made quick work of Langston Hughes without breaking much of a sweat, needing four innings to rout the Panthers 16-1 behind a one-hitter from Heys Rowan and a 4 RBI outing from freshman K.D. Satterwhite at Joe Pope Field.
“We were fortunate to rest a lot of our starters and not lose a step,” Newnan head coach Marc Gilmore. “If you like baseball, this is your week. It’s going to be a long week.”
Gilmore used 14 players over four innings as the Cougars quickly built leads of 2-0 after one inning and 7-0 after two with Rowan cruising through his first three innings of work while consistently throwing strikes. The right-hander retired nine straight Panthers and needed six pitches to get out of the second inning.
“He’s probably still got a lot left,” Gilmore said of Rowan, who contributed to a no-hitter with Sawyer Steele against Tri-Cities earlier in the season. “He throws strikes and pounds the zone.”
Rowan allowed a single to Hughes leadoff hitter Zach Perdue in the fourth that escaped the gloves of both middle infielders. It led to an unearned run off a fielder’s choice, an error and a sacrifice fly.
Senior catcher Conner Dunn went 2-for-2 with 2 RBIs and more importantly got a chance to watch backup Cody Barnes handle the final inning in a week where Newnan faces seven region games over six consecutive days.
“It gave us a chance to give Conner a break behind the plate,” Gilmore said of the victory. “It’s a tough position to be playing every day, so to be able to get him out was a big plus for us.”
Even bigger was that an easy win came prior to today’s 3 p.m. doubleheader at home with Westlake. The Lions spent Monday battling East Coweta in a 5-2 loss that puts both Westlake (11-10, 8-3) and Newnan (9-10, 6-3) tied for second place in 3-AAAAAA.
A sweep by either team could go a long way in securing a first-round Class AAAAAA state playoff series at home.
The Lions defeated Newnan 5-3 in the first meeting between teams on March 19. The Cougars, though, rattled off five consecutive region victories from there before dropping a pair to East Coweta last week.
Facing six consecutive game days, the Cougars put their best foot forward on Monday.
After jumping out to an early two-run lead in the first on two walks, Caleb McElwaney’s RBI single and Satterwhite’s well-executed squeeze bunt, the Cougars batted around in the second against Hughes starting pitcher Terron Bolston.
Dunn belted an RBI double that came two hops from reaching the fence in left-center. Following a walk and a pitch that plunked McElwaney to load the bases, Satterwhite - who tripled against East Coweta on Thursday - cleared them with another three-base hit down the third-base line.
“He’s been red hot for us,” Gilmore said of Satterwhite, who started in center field.
Newnan’s final three at-bats were nearly identical while sending at least eight to the plate each time and as many as 10 while forcing the 15-run rule with six runs in the fourth inning.
Shortstop Chase Jones equally continued a torrid hitting streak on Monday, going 2-for-2 with a double and two runs scored. The Cougars also benefitted from eight walks between two Panthers pitchers, including three to senior Jake Kneidel, the last of which plated a run in the fourth. Kneidel added an RBI with a sacrifice fly in his other at bat.
Reserves, meanwhile, helped push the lead further over the final two innings.
In the fourth, Blake Crossing and Bailey Bryant - who came in for Jones and McElwaney - each came through with singles, the latter a bloop to right-center for two RBIs.
Senior designated hitter Walker Sandlin finally ended the game with an RBI single to center for the last of Newnan’s eight hits in the victory.
NOTES: Last Friday’s rainout between Newnan and East Coweta has been rescheduled for Saturday with a tentative start at 7 p.m. The game is expected to be played much earlier should neither team experience another rainout this week. … Tri-Cities defeated Douglas County 5-3 in a series between 3-AAAAAA teams battling it out for the final state-playoff berth from the region. Tri-Cities won two of three games against Westlake to stay in the playoff hunt after being swept by both East Coweta and Newnan earlier this season.
Cougars 16, Panthers 1, four innings
Langston Hughes 000 1 — 1 1 2
Newnan 253 6 — 16 8 1
WP — Heys Rowan
LP — Terron Bolston