A few seeing-eye singles put the Heritage Generals on top 2-0 in the top of the first inning, and with a talent like Cole Wilcox on the mound, that lead could seem insurmountable. Not for Jake Gooch and the Cartersville Purple Hurricanes, however. Gooch’s two-run home run in the bottom of the first tied the game up and a go-ahead single by Jordan Wilkie gave Cartersville a lead and sent a message that the team wasn’t backing down.
In the end, it was Cartersville that upended Heritage by a score of 6-5 to take Game 1 and sit one win away from a championship appearance; its first since 2014.
Mason Barnett tossed four innings and allowed three runs with four strikeouts. Gage Morris tossed a strong two innings out of relief and allowed two unearned runs, but it was Anthony Seigler who tossed the final frame with two strikeouts to seal the game for Cartersville.
It seemed as though every time Heritage would put a run or two across, Cartersville would answer in the bottom half. Heritage tied the game in the fourth innings, but Preston Welchel scored on a passed ball to give Cartersville a 4-3 lead.
Even when Heritage scored two runs in the top of the sixth inning, Cartersville didn’t back down. Welchel walked, Seigler, doubled him home, and then scored on a Josh Davis single to give Cartersville the win 6-5.
Seigler finished 3-4 with two doubles, one run, and one RBI. Gooch finished 1-4 with a two-run homer. And while Welchel did not record a hit, he walked twice and scored both times.
Game 2 will feature Cohen Wilbanks on the bump for Cartersville against Tripp Church. The game will start around 6:30.