High School Baseball
Newnan hurlers blank Westlake twice
by Doug Gorman
Newnan first-year head baseball coach Marc Gilmore must be feeling pretty good right about now about his team’s chances to host a first round Class AAAAAA state playoff series.
The Cougars went into must-win situations Tuesday against region foe Westlake and swept a doubleheader from the Lions at Joe Pope Field, getting complete-game shutouts in both contests.
Newnan won the first game 6-0 and then followed it up with a crushing 11-0 win in the nightcap, needing just five innings to knockoff the visitors from Atlanta by the 10-run mercy rule.
The Cougars rode solid pitching in both games. Sophomore Sawyer Steele allowed six hits and struck out six in game one. Senior Tanner Snellgrove then allowed just two hits in the nightcap, giving up singles in the second and fourth and walking just two batters to keep the Lions off the bases.
“It definitely started with great pitching,” Gilmore said. “Sawyer and Tanner were on today. They were able to change speeds, and they did a really good job of keeping them off balanced.”
With the victories, Newnan now sits alone in second place in the Region 3-AAAAAA standings with a 7-3 record. The Lions fell to 8-5 in 3-AAAAAA, but the Cougars own any tiebreakers that might come up with Westlake after beating them two of three in the season series.
If East Coweta beats Westlake today, none of that would matter, as the Indians would clinch the region crown, with Newnan guaranteed second place.
Newnan still has four region games remaining this week including today’s trip to Langston Hughes after defeating the Panthers 16-1 in four innings on Monday.
“It was all hands deck today,” said Gilmore, whose lineup has outscored three opponents by a combined score of 32-1 over two days. “Everybody contributed, and hopefully we continue this momentum.”
Snellgrove struck out and least one batter in each of the first four innings and finished with five en route to the victory in Tuesday’s nightcap.
Tuesday’s doubleheader was needed because rainy weather has forced the Cougars to play
seven games in six days this week in order to complete its schedule by the end of the regular season.
“I sent Mother Nature some flowers and some candy,” Gilmore joked, “ and she finally
Although portions of the first game were played in a light drizzle, blue sky peaked through the clouds in the nightcap before the sun made a full appearance.
The weather didn’t bother the Cougars in either game while out-hitting the Lions 13-8 over the two games.
Designated hitter Anthony Mariano finished the doubleheader with three RBIs to help pace the offense. His double in the second inning drove in two runs at helped get the scoring started in the first contest.
Senior Jake Kneidel also drove in one run in each victory while finishing with three hits.
Senior catcher Connor Dunn had a double in the first game and scored three times during the twinbill.
First baseman Caleb McElwaney reached on two singles in the first game and add a second in the second game. He also scored three times.
Freshman K.D. Satterwhite reached base four times and scored three runs.
Brady Barnes finished the game with two hits and two RBIs.
Chase Jones helped break home the six-run fifth inning night cap, bringing home a run when he laid down a squeeze bunt.
Drew Oldham had an RBI in the first game and scored three times,
The Cougars big blow came in the second game when Justin Groover belted a second-inning solo homer run.
He also had a double in the third.
Newnan relied on solid fielding, committing just one error in 12 innings.
In the first game, the Cougars took a 4-0 lead in the second inning after Mariano, knocked in two runs with his double and Oldham brought him around to score in the the third run of the game. Barnes drove in Jones on a fielder’s choice.
The Cougars scored their final two runs contest when Dunn and Kneidel reached on back-to-back doubles and later scored.
Westlake put one base runner on board in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings but each time the Cougars managed to get out of the Lion rally attempts with quality pitching and fielding.
Newnan batted first to start the second game and scored single runs in the first three innings to build a 3-0 lead.
Satterwhite picked up an RBI in the first to bring home courtesy runner Ty Herring, and the Cougars were just getting started.
Groover’s home run in the second made it 2-0. Mariano’s single then brought home Satterwhite for a 3-0 lead in the third.
The Newnan lead was pushed further with two runs on just one hit in the fifth before loading the bases.
While Westlake got out of the jam, the Cougars used a six-run rally in top of the fifth inning to pull away. The inning included doubles from McElwaney and Satterwhite and a successful squeeze bunt by Jones to make it 11-0.
Snellgrove gave up a leadoff walk to start the fifth, but his next three batters to close out the victory.
Newnan faces Douglas County in a makeup game at home on Friday, before ending the regular season on Saturday at rival East Coweta.
The time for Saturday’s a game will be decided later this week.
COUGARS 6, LIONS 0
WESTLAKE 000 000 0 — 0 6 2
NEWNAN 042 000 x — 6 6 0
WP — Sawyer Steele
LP — Tyler Wilcher
COUGARS 11, LIONS 0
NEWNAN 111 26 — 11 7 1
WESTLAKE 000 00 — 0 2 4
WP — Tanner Snellgrove
LP — Malcomb Boyce
HR — Justin Groover