High School Baseball
Newnan celebrates Senior Night with win
by Doug Gorman
Newnan’s baseball team can’t help but feel relaxed as it heads into the final game of a hectic week in Region 3-AAAAAA play tonight at home against Douglas County.
So far, the Cougars have played five games in four days and haven’t lost. Their hot streak continued Thursday with a 7-2 victory over Langston Hughes.
Newnan has secured second place in the final Region 3-AAAAAA standings behind rival and region champion East Coweta, meaning Saturday’s contest with the Indians in Sharpsburg won’t be played.
“We are getting hot at the right time,” said head coach Marc Gilmore.
Newnan celebrated Senior Night Thursday by outhitting the Panthers 7-5.
The Cougars picked up a solid effort from junior left-handed pitcher Sam Sowerbrower, who nearly gave the Newnan pitching staff its third complete game of the week.
Sowerbrower lasted 6 ? innings, striking out six and walking two before giving way to side-arm reliever Chris Turner who struck out the only man he faced in the top of the seventh to end the game.
“Sam was pitching well, but his pitch count was way up, and there was no reason to keep him in the game,” Gilmore said.
Newnan scored two runs in the first and four in the second. All five runs came during two-out rallies.
Senior Walker Sandlin, who got Thursday’s start at third, plated runs in both the first and second innings to help jump start the offense.
The mothers of each of Newnan’s five senior players threw out Thursday’s first pitch to their sons, who reciprocated by signing the balls with a special message to mom.
Newnan broke the game open in the second inning when it pushed four runners across the plate. Seniors Connor Dunn and Jake Kneidel also had RBIs in the second inning while fellow senior Justin Groover hit his second home run this week with a solo shot in the bottom of the fourth for the Cougars’ seventh and final run of the game.
Senior starting second baseman Drew Oldham also walked and scored in the victory.
Langston Hughes scored both its runs in the second inning on Jordan Carroll’s double and Zach Purdue’s base hit.
However some clutch defense from Newnan throughout the game helped kill some Langston Hughes rallies.
The Panthers loaded the bases with no outs to start the top of the second, but Newnan retired the next three batters, including the second out of the inning on a strikeout from Sowerbrower.
Newnan retired Langston Hughes in order in the fourth getting back-to-back strikeouts from Sowerbrower to end the inning.
The Panthers ran themselves out of the inning in the fifth when a base runner was tagged out at third.
Centerfielder Tyler Davis later turned in the defensive play of the game by throwing out a Langston Hughes runner at the plate.
“That was a great play,” Gilmore said. “We were in control the whole way, but that kind of gave us a spark to close the game out.”
After Newnan’s game with Douglas County, the Cougars will spend the weekend waiting to see who who they will host from Region 1-AAAAAA next week.
Right now, Valdosta is third in the Region 1-AAAAAA standings and would come to Joe Pope Field to open the playoffs. However, Tift County still has two games against Camden County and could slip to third if the Wildcats sweep.
COUGARS 7, PANTHERS 2
LANGSTON HUGHES 002 000 0 — 2 5 3
NEWNAN 240 100 X — 7 9 1
WP — Sam Sowerbrower
LP — Gambrell
HR —Justin Groover