Prep Baseball: Sumner’s 11Ks help Newnan pull closer to East CowetaBy Doug Gorman
The Newnan Cougars moved into sole possession of second place in Region 2-AAAAA Tuesday night with a 9-2 victory over Langston Hughes.
Newnan got a little help from Newton.
Both Newnan and East Coweta each have three losses in 2-AAAAA, but with the Cougars’ 2-0 victory over the Indians earlier this season at East Coweta, they currently own the tiebreaker.
The Cougars moved to 8-3 in the region and 17-5 overall.. Langston Hughes fell to 2-14 and 0-11 in Region 2-AAAAA play.
Newnan had to sit around nearly two hours before Langston Hughes could get a bus to the game, but all the downtime didn’t seem to bother the Cougars.
They pounded out 13 hits. made just one error and got a strong pitching performance from Thomas Sumner, who struck out 11 and gave up just three hits.
Newnan head coach Kenny Morris was a little worried about whether his team would stay focused once it took the field after the long deal, but they responded with their second win in a row after beating Creekside 11-3 on Saturday morning.
“I was really proud of the way we came out and played after waiting around,” he said. “That’s what I told the guys. It was really good effort for us.”
At first, it looked like Morris was going to have something to worry about.
Langston Hughes took a 1-0 lead when Michael Bell ripped a home run to left field in the top of the first.
Jordan Carroll nearly followed with a second home run one batter later, but Newnan’s Charles Reeves caught the ball up against the fence for the third out of the inning.
That out seemed to spark Sumner’s solid pitching performance.
“He did a great job out there on the mound,” Morris said.
Sumner had a least one strikeout in every inning including one to end the game.
After giving up the home run, Sumner recovered and helped the Cougars retire eight in a row. The junior right-hander struck out five during that stretch, including the side in the third inning.
Newnan broke the game open in the second inning with four runs to take the lead. Rodney Tennie and Will Dreggors each had RBIs in the inning and Gavin Porter and Devin Henry both scored after reaching on errors.
Langston Hughes added its final run if the game in the top of the fourth when Euegine Freeman belted a base hit. to cut the lead to 4-2.
Newnan put the game out of reach with a two-out, three-run rally in the fourth inning to take a 7-2 lead. Derrick Nelson’s RBI double keyed the inning. Sam Buchanan and Connor Dunn added RBI singles for the Cougars.
“It was great to see how we responded with two outs,” Morris said.”We came up with some really big hits.”
The Cougars added two insurance runs in the sixth thanks to Tennie’s double that scored Jonathan Swenson and Dunn.
Tennie finished the game with three RBIs. Swenson had a perfect on-base percentage for Newnan, reaching all four times with two singles, a double and getting hit by a pitch. He scored two runs for the Cougars.
Dreggors had a good day at the plate with two hits and a run scored.
Newnan has a key game Friday night at first-place Luella. The Lions have a two-game lead in the Region 2-AAAAA standings with just one loss.
The Cougars can go for the sweep again rival East Coweta at home next Tuesday. A win against either team would go a long way in giving Newnan home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.