High School Baseball
East Coweta hurlers dominate shutout wins over Colquitt
by Doug Gorman
East Coweta showed why good pitching beats good hitting to open the GHSA Class AAAAAA state baseball on Friday.
Shutouts efforts senior Austin Bellamy and sophomore Thomas Leone helped the Indians make short work of visiting Colquitt County, sweeping the first round doubleheader Friday to begin the Class AAAAAA Tournament.
Bellamy allowed just four hits in the first game, striking out one en route to a 3-0 victory, while Leone sent the Indians to next week’s Sweet 16 with a one-hit, 6-0 victory.
“We can’t ask for a better job pitching than we got from our two guys today,” East Coweta head coach Franklin DeLoach said. “(Pitching coach) Mark Bowles does a really good job getting our guys ready, and they came through today.”
If Leone was nervous pitching his first playoff game ever, he didn’t show it in the nightcap.
The left-hander struck out six and pitched a no-hitter into the fifth inning.
“I felt comfortable out there,” he said. “I just tried to look at it as another game.”
Austin Jones finished the doubleheader with three RBIs, including a two-run homer in the fifth inning of the second game that he hit over the centerfield fence.
Matt Meyer also finished with an RBI in each game.
The Indians won the first game despite committing four errors.
Meyer led the East Coweta offense in the first game with two doubles and nearly
reached on a third hit that was fielded deep in the hole by the Packers’ shortstop who threw over to first just in time to beat Meyer.
Jones drove in the first run of the game in the bottom of the second with a RBI single to jumpstart his big offensive day at the plate.
The Indians had a chance to break the game open in the fourth after putting the first three base runners on base, but settled for just two runs.
Meyer’s second double of the contest brought home Nick Pippen who singled one batter earlier.
Bryce Gemmel scored the third run of the game in the bottom of the fourth when he crossed the plate on a wild pitch.
Despite taking the loss, Colquitt County pitcher Clayton Brown struck out eight batters, including three straight in the fourth to end the Indians threat.
Bellamy struck out just one batter and pitched out of trouble in every inning but the first and fifth when the Indians retired the side in order.
The Packers stranded six runners in the first game including leaving runners at third in both the second and fourth.
Andy Bush led off the seventh inning with a double, but Bellamy again pitched out of the jam and retired the next three batters to get the win.
“It was really good to get out of here with a sweep,” “Bellamy said. I thought my defense did a really good job backing me up.”
East Coweta used plenty of extra base hits to take control of the second game.
Gemmel and Cary Holloway each tripled and scored in the contest as part of the squad’s eight-hit performance in game two.
East Coweta scored twice in the first inning taking advantage of Gemmel’s RBI triple and Meyer’s sacrifice fly.
After Holloway tripled in the fourth, he scored on leadoff hitter Stephan Cruver’s sacrifice fly to go up 3-0.
The Indians increased the lead to 5-0 when Gemmel singled ahead of Jones’ two-run homer.
East Coweta scored its final run of the game in the sixth when Jaquez Williams got hit with the bases loaded.
The Packers threatened to score in the third when Jonah Bozeman walked and Preston Berry was hit by a pitch, but East Coweta pitched out of the jam.
Leadoff hitter Mack Hathcock had the Packers’ only hit of the game when he doubled with two outs in the fifth, but Leone coaxed a ground ball out of the next batter to get out of the inning.
INDIANS 3, PACKERS 0
Colquit 000 000 0 0 4 0
ECHS 010 200 X 3 4 0
WP — Austin Bellamy
LP — Chris Brown
INDIANS 6, PACKERS 0
ECHS 200 121 0— 683
Colquitt 000 000 0 — 0 1 0
WP —Thomas Leone