This past Friday afternoon, the PHS Dragons varsity baseball team, made their way down to Cartersville to take on the Purple Hurricanes in the first round of the 4-A State Baseball Tournament. Pickens came in as the #4 seed from region 6, while Cartersville came in as the #1 seed out of region 5. These games, were originally scheduled for Thursday, but weather pushed it back. Cartersville even had a helicopter out to help dry the field prior to first pitch of game 1.
The Dragons, were the away team in game 1, & looked to get things going against the top team from region 5. Pickens, would be unable to get on base in the top half of the 1st, sending us to the bottom of the inning. Dragons starting pitcher, Caswell Smith, found himself in an early jam, but was able to hold Cartersville to 1 run & strikeout 2 in the process. We’d head to the 2nd, Purple Hurricanes up, 1-0. In the top of the 2nd, the Dragons saw a total of 8 pitches, & flew out in order, sending us to the bottom of the frame. Smith, came back with an 11 pitch inning, & picked up his 3rd K of the game, sending us to the 3rd, Cartersville leading Pickens, 1-0.
With 2-outs in the top of the 3rd, Dylan Huffman sent a a fly ball to shallow left field, the left fielder could not come up with the catch, & Huffman made it to 2nd on the play. Joseph Gossett, then drew a walk to put runners on 1st & 2nd. Jace Franklin then battled & kept fouling off pitches. With a 2-2 count, Franklin laced a double in right center, scoring Huffman & tying the game up a 1. Cartersville, looking to retake the lead in the bottom of the inning, had 2 runners on with nobody out. Smith, with help from the defense behind him, was able to get out of that jam, keeping it a 1-1 game, going to the 4th. In the top of the 4th, the Purple Hurricanes brought in a new pitcher, & he was able to get the Dragons in order. In the bottom of the 4th, Cartersville, was able to reclaim the lead, 2-1, going to the 5th.
Gossett, would get a 2-out single in the top of the 5th, but that would be all for the Dragons in the top half of the frame. The Purple Hurricanes, would plate 2 more runs in the bottom of the 5th, making it 4-1, going to the 6th. With 2-outs in the top of the 6th, Pickens got back to back singles from Chad Pacas & Colby James. Tyler Vreeland, made it three straight hits, but Evan Jones (running for Pacas), would be called out at the plate, trying to score from 2nd, keeping the score 4-1. In the bottom of the 6th, Cartersville, got a solo home run, to make it 5-1, going to the 7th. The Purple Hurricanes, would take game 1, 5-1.
Caswell Smith: 6IP, 8H, 5R, 4ER, 7K, 106 pitches
Joseph Gossett: 1-3 with a walk & a single
Jace Franklin: 1-3 with a double & 1 RBI
Brady Moore: 1 walk
Chad Pacas: 1-3 with a single
Colby James: 1-3 with a single
Tyler Vreeland: 1-3 with a single
Dylan Huffman: 1 run scored
The two teams switched roles for game two as Pickens was now the home team, & Cartersville was the away team. The Purple Hurricanes, jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first as they would plate 3 runs, to take an early 3-0 lead. The Dragons, went quietly in the bottom of the 1st, sending us to the 2nd, Cartersville leading, 3-0. In the top of the 2nd, the Purple Hurricanes added 2 more runs, to stretch the lead out to 5-0. In the bottom of the frame, Pickens, again would be unable to get anything going, & we’d head to the 3rd, Dragons trailing Cartersville, 5-0.
In the top of the 3rd, Cartersville, plated 1 run, to make it 6-0. In the bottom of the inning, Tyler Vreeland, would lead off the inning with the Dragons 1st hit of the game. The Purple Hurricanes, got out of the inning without any damage done, as we’d go to the 4th. In the top of the 4th, Cartersville, would score 6 times to make it 12-0. The Purple Hurricanes would go on to take game 2, 12-0 in 5 innings. Winning the series 2-0.
Last night, the PHS Dragons varsity baseball team hosted one of the highly rated teams in the state, the Cartersville Purple Hurricanes, in a big early region match up. The Canes came into the ball game at 6-6 and 2-0 in region play, while the Dragons came in with a record of 9-5 & 2-1 in region.
Travis Huffman got the start for the Dragons and turned in an amazing performance. In the top of the 1st, Cartersville was able to take the lead early as three hits, and a couple passed balls led to 2 runs for the Canes. Pickens, had it’s chance in the bottom of the frame as they were able to get two runners on with two out, but Cartersville was able to get out of that jam, and send us to the 2nd, with the Canes up, 2-0. T. Huffman was able to settle down in the 2nd, and get Cartersville in order to send us to the bottom of the 2nd.
In what seemed to be a theme throughout the game, the Dragons had a big chance in the bottom of the 2nd with the bases loaded, but were unable to capitalize as the Canes escaped the threat. T. Huffman again showed great stuff in the 3rd, as he K’d two Canes on the way to a 9 pitch inning. In the bottom of the 3rd, Pickens had another chance to cut into the 2-0 Cartersville lead, but runners were left at 1st & 3rd, sending us to the 4th. Both teams were shut down quietly in the 4th, as both pitchers were throwing great games.
In the 5th, Cartersville left a runner at 2nd, as T. Huffman was able to work around it. After drawing two walks in the bottom of the inning, the Dragons left runners at 1st & 2nd, sending us to the 6th, with the Canes still leading, 2-0. Both teams were unable to get anything going in the 6th, as we’d head to the final inning, Cartersville maintaining it’s lead, 2-0. T. Huffman k’d two in the top of the 7th, sending us to the bottom of the 7th, Dragons down to their final three outs, and trailing 2-0.
After Tyler Garner & Dalton Presley were able to get on, they were replaced by courtesy runners, Dylan Huffman, & Caleb Brooks. Walker Lawrence then got on with a single to load the bases. Zack Moore then brought in D. Huffman with a sac fly to make it 2-1 Cartersville. As Brooks was attempting a steal to 3rd, the throw over to 3rd sailed over the 3rd baseman’s head and Brooks came home to tie things up at 2. Dillon Champion & Joseph Gossett drew walks to load the bases, still with one out. With a 1-1 count to Wyatt Gooch, a wild pitch was sent to the backstop and Lawrence came in to give the Dragons a 3-2 win.
Travis Huffman went the distance giving up 2 runs on just 3 hits and striking out 10 on 98 pitches
Zack Moore had 1 RBI
Dylan Huffman scored 1 run
Caleb Brooks scored 1 run
Walker Lawrence went 1-3 with a run scored
This is a big win for Pickens. After leaving a total of 11 runners on base, they found a way to score when it mattered. With the win, the Dragons are now 10-5 on the season & 3-1 in region play. Pickens will host a pair of region games next week, starting with Northwest Whitfield on Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 5:55.
The Pickens Dragons had a tough time putting together any run support on Friday against the Cartersville Hurricanes, stringing together just three hits in a 7-0 loss.