GHSA Baseball Playoffs
Indians ready for 2nd-round series vs. Marietta
by Doug Gorman
The top-ranked East Coweta Indians are hoping the home-field advantage is good to them.
East Coweta (26-2), which has spent several weeks ranked No. 1 in the Class AAAAAA poll, resumes play today at home in the second round of the state tournament when it hosts Marietta (21-7) in the best-of-three series.
The doubleheader starts at 4 p.m. A third game will be held on Thursday, if needed.
Both teams waltzed through the first round of this year’s tournament with sweeps and shutouts last Friday.
East Coweta knocked off Rockdale 13-0 and 16-0, while the Blue Devils beat Camden County 2-0 and 10-0.
Indians head coach Franklin DeLoach knows it’s not going to get any easier.
“Every round is going to get harder,” DeLoach said. “When you win as easily as we did in round one, it is sort of a double-edge sword. It was an easy win, but there is a concerning side, because not that you want to be overly challenged, but we know Marietta is going to be very good.”
East Coweta captured the No. 1 seed out of Region 3-AAAAA with a 14-1 league record.
It’s only loss in the region came when it fell to rival Newnan 6-2 in the second game of the third-game region series.
East Coweta won 16 games in a row to start the season, helping it secure the No. 1-ranking in the Class AAAAA Georgia Dugout Club poll.
Marietta finished second in Region 4-AAAAAA behind McEachern. For the Blue Devils it was a piece of history, as they won a first-round baseball game for the first time in school history.
East Coweta enters the second round of the tournament on a roll. The Indians have won the last 11 games in a row, and and given up just two runs in the past four games.
Today’s second-round series could come down to pitching. In last week’s first-round sweeps, both teams called on their aces to make short work of their opponents.
East Coweta relied on the pitching arms of starters Zach McCurry in the first game to win 13-0 and then took the nightcap as starter Austin Bellamy helped the team finish off the Bulldogs 16-0.
The two pitchers combined on 63 pitches during their quick workout.
“It’s a positive that our pitcher didn’t have to throw too many pitches,” DeLoach said. “Our guys did exactly what they were supposed to do for a first series. We made good plays, we pitched the ball well, and we had timely hits. That’s all we asked you can ask for.”
Against Camden, the Blue Devils gave up just one hit en route to the sweep. Gabe Friese allowed just one hit in game No. 1 and Eric Henderson pitched a no-hitter in a game called after five innings.
East Coweta’s offense has been on fire lately. The Indians have outscored their opponents 52-2 in their last four games.
In the series opener against Rockdale, East Coweta outhit the visting Bulldogs 19-3. The Indians batted around twice in the nightcap as everybody in the lineup got involved in the hit parade for East Coweta.
In Friday’s sweep of the Bulldogs, lead-off hitter Cameron Smith, Bryce Gemmel, Cole Amtmann, Geremy Walton, Jon Banks and Austin Jones all had extra-base hits en route to the two victories.
The Indians set up for the sweep with a fast start in game No. 2 when Gemmel, Antmann and Jon Banks each doubled in the first inning and later scored.
The Blue Devils bring several players into series who are also showing some offensive muscle. Marietta has relied this year on brothers Trent and Travis Wildermuth to help pace the offense.
In the nightcap to finish off Camden last week, Travis went 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Trent Wildermuth was 3-for-3 with three runs scored and an RBI. He also stole two bases.
Henderson isn’t just a pitcher for the Blue Devils. He also went 2 for-2 with a run scored.