A four-run first inning put the Cartersville Purple Hurricanes in a sizeable hole against Jefferson’s Dragons ace Patrick Hickocks. The Canes, however, weren’t done. Cartersville trailed 5-0 entering the final two innings, but pushed across four runs and had the tying run at second base in the top of the seventh, but Mason Barnett’s line drive was snared by shortstop Zac Corbin to leave Cartersville one run short in its 6-5 Game 1 loss in the GHSA 4-A Championship Game.
Barnett struggled with his curveball in the games first two frames, but Levi Ayers emerged from the pen to toss 4 2/3 innings allowing just one run.
Hickocks cruised through the first five innings, but some fielding mishaps gave Cartersville some extra chances, which the Canes pounced on. By the end of the game, Canes bats were squaring up Hickocks and making solid contact.
With no one out in the sixth inning, Preston Welchel walked and scored on Anthony Seigler’s triple. Josh Davis grounded out to the right side of the diamond, which scored Seigler.
In the seventh inning, Ian Inaba singled and advanced to second following Welchel’s single. Seigler represented the go-ahead run at the plate and drove a ball deep into left-center field, but Justin Cole made a nice running catch against the wall to retire the catcher. With two outs and runners at the corners, all seemed over when Josh Davis struck out. But the catcher dropped the ball, threw to first, where first baseman Ryan Godfrey could not hold on. Welchel scored on the play, which brought up Barnett with the tying run at second and a second chance for the Canes.
Barnett hit the first pitch he saw on a line, but Corbin leaped into the air, corraled the ball, and ended Cartersville’s rally.
Now the Canes sit just one loss away from elimination as Game 2 is set to be played at 7:30.