Newnan evens series with East Coweta
by Doug Gorman
So much for the home-field advantage.
After two games between the Newnan Cougars and the East Coweta Indians in the three-game Region 3-AAAAAA series, each team has won on the road.
Newnan got back on track Thursday night in the Indians’ backyard, jumping to an early lead, and then holding off a potential East Coweta rally attempt en route to a 6-2 victory.
The Indians came into the region contest on a high note after starting the week on Tuesday with a 12-1 win at Joe Pope Field in Newnan.
In Thursday’s contest, a standing-room only crowd watched the Cougars regroup to hand East Coweta just its second loss of the year.
Now both teams head to the final game of the series today back in Newnan with identical 10-1 Region 3-AAAAAA records. Friday night’s contest is scheduled to for 6 p.m. However, heavy rains are expected and could push the game back to Saturday. A decision will be made this afternoon.
The contest now has added importance with the winner in the driver’s seat for the region title.
After scoring just one run in the series opener, Newnan found its offense on Thursday, pounding out 11 hits.
“We really had some timely hitting tonight and we got some hits with players in scoring position,” Newnan head coach Kenny Morris said.
The Cougars also benefitted from a strong pitching performance from senior right handed pitcher Brandon Dawson.
Dawson allowed just four hits, while striking out six — five of which came through the first three innings. He looked unstoppable through the first four, retiring the first 11 East Coweta batters he faced.
“I thought Brandon did a great job Morris said “He really got on a roll there.”
Newnan also got plenty of help from right-fielder Devin Henry, who drove in four runs and also made diving catch for the third out in the bottom of the fifth to save a run.
However, the news wasn’t all good for Henry.
The right fielder pulled up lame with an upper leg injury in the bottom of the sixth after driving in two runs and had to be helped off the field. He exited the field on crutches at the end of the night.
“He has done a great job for us and it is something that is going to have to be addressed tomorrow,” Morris said.
Newnan started their offensive display with one out in the second inning. After East Coweta starting pitcher Austin Bellamy began the inning with a strikeout, Newnan started its rally when Reeves walked and later scored on a passed ball for the first run of the game.
Rodney Tennie singled and Jake Kneidel reached on a passed before scoring on Henry’s two-run double.
The Cougars pushed the lead to 5-0 when Henry drove in Dawson and Tennie with his fourth RBI of the game. Henry has been the offensive catalyst for Newnan in both games. In the losing effort on Tuesday, tripled and drove in Cougars’ only run.
The Indians scored their only two runs of the game in the sixth when they benefitted from two Newnan errors.
Cole Antmann’s sacrifice fly cut the lead to 5-1, and then Jon Banks added the Indians final run of the game when he singled in Bryce Gemmel.
Newnan added its final run of the game in the bottom of the seventh when Tennie singled in Reeves.
East Coweta head coach Franklin DeLoach knew Friday’s game was going to be a battle.
“Dawson really did a nice job throwing the ball for them,” DeLoach said. “They capitalized on some free passes from us. Tip your hat they played good. I want to give our guys a little credit too. Our guys kept hanging in there. We were working hard and pushing until the very end.”