High School Baseball
Closing game between EC, Newnan cancelled
by Doug Gorman
Fans wanting to see East Coweta and Newnan met on baseball field again this season will have to wish for an all-county Class AAAAAA state championship.
The two rivals were scheduled to play the third and final game of the series Saturday afternoon at East Coweta to close out the regular season, but the contest was cancelled since it won’t affect the outcome of the Region 3-AAAAAA standings.
With its victory over Westlake Wednesday afternoon, East Coweta (19-5, 13-0) clinched the region title, while Newnan (12-11, 9-3) earned second place with its doubleheader sweep of Westlake on Tuesday.
“We want to play, the game, and I am sure they want to play the game, but the athletic directors agreed that since the outcome won’t change anything, it won’t be played,” Newnan head coach Marc Gilmore said. “We sure don’t want to get somebody hurt going into the playoffs.”
Both teams will open the Class AAAAAA tournament at home next week against teams from Region 1-AAAAAA.
“Our guys are spent from playing all week,” added Newnan High Athletic Director Stephen Allen. “There’s nothing left to play for in the region, so we felt like this was best for them.”
East Coweta head coach Franklin DeLoach wants to play the game.
“We are disappointed,” DeLoach said. “We really were hoping to play. It’s Newnan, so it is always a big game, a big gate.”
East Coweta beat Newnan in the first two meetings, but the third game of the series was rained out on Friday, April 19, pushing the make-up to Saturday, the last day the Georgia High School Association allows teams to complete the regular season.
It would have been Newnan’s sixth game in five days.
The Cougars play Langston Hughes on Thursday and host Douglas County on Friday.
Newnan came into the week still uncertain about its playoff position, but quickly helped its own cause with a 16-1 win over Langston Hughes on Monday and a two shutout victories over Westlake on Tuesday to sweep the doubleheader.
Against Westlake, pitchers Sawyer Steele and Tanner Snellgrove threw complete game shutouts.
Newnan got some good news last week when senior Jake Kneidel returned from a broken finger sooner than expected.
The Cougars head to the playoffs getting offensive support from all nine spots in the lineup.
Leadoff hitter Brady Barnes has shown his ability to get on base with hits and also working the count for walks.
In the second game of the doubleheader against Westlake Caleb McElwaney and Drew Oldham each had doubles.
Newnan continued the streak with the 5-2 victory over Langston Hughes Thursday.
Justin Groover has hit two home runs this week for Newnan including one in Thursday’s win.
East Coweta will now wrap up the regular season today at Westlake, which fell into fourth place on Thursday after Tri-Cities beat Douglas County 2-0 to clinch the No. 3 seed out of 3-AAAAAA.
The Indians lost five games in the first two months of the season, including their last one on March 13 when they fell to Chapel Hill, but has since rolled off 15 straight.
East Coweta is getting plenty of support from both veterans and younger players.
Senior pitcher Austin Bellamy has been the workhorse for the East Coweta staff, bringing experience to the mound. Junior Tyler Exley and sophomore Thomas Leone have also given the Indians quality innings this season.
Offensively, the Indians are getting plenty of firepower from seniors Matt Meyer and Bryce Gemmel.
Meyer roped a RBI double to bring home a run in the first inning of Wednesday’s game with Westlake.
Gemmel also been one of the Indians’ most productive hitters in the No. 3 spot in the order.
East Coweta also found some offensive firepower in the bats of junior outfielder Stephan Cruver. In his last outing Cruver hit a double and a solo home run.
The Indians head into the playoffs with a big void after senior outfielder Cam Smith was lost for the season following an emergency appendectomy.