A late ninth-inning rally wasn’t enough to undo a five-run first inning by the Jefferson Dragons, as the Cartersville Purple Hurricanes baseball team fell in the decisive third game of the series 6-3, and lost the series 2-1.
Cohen Wilbanks drew the start for Cartersville, but was unable to escape the first inning as the right-hander allowed five earned runs. Levi Ayers tossed one inning, but it was the big right arm of Gage Morris that kept the Canes in the game by pitching that tossed 5 2/3 innings allowing just one unearned run and three strikeouts as he induced weak contact off Dragon bats all evening.
The Cartersville offense was not without its opportunities as several leadoff hitters reached base, but the clutch base hit never came. The Canes offense was hitless for the first three innings before Jordan Wilkie singled to lead off the fourth. Wilkie and Ian Inaba scored the first two runs for Cartersville in third and fourth innings.
In the seventh inning, a throwing error into left field allowed a Dragon run to score to push the lead to 6-2. Morris intentionally walked the next batter who Anthony Seigler promptly caught leaning from the first base bag one pitch later. One groundout later and Morris had avoided further damage.
In the top of the seventh Seigler led off the inning and deposited a 1-0 pitch over the left field fence to cut into the Jefferson lead 6-3. Josh Davis doubled two pitches later and it appeared a Cartersville rally was taking over. Unfortunately, three of the next four batters would be retired and the Canes search for a state championship would fall a few runs short.
Cartersville concludes its season with a 32-10 record and state runner-ups in Class 4-A.