Bulldogs and Panthers split region opening series

By: Logan Maddox

Despite ample attempts to win the game, Cedartown baseball fell in their home region opener at the start of last week, but bounced back in their second game in the series.

The visiting Chapel Hill Panthers picked up a victory in the series opener on March 18, downing the Bulldogs 3-1. However, last Wednesday’s road trip to Douglasville was undoubtedly a successful one for Cedartown baseball. In their game with region foe Chapel Hill, the Bulldogs exacted revenge on the Panthers to pick up their first region victory of 2019.

Scoring opened in the top of the first inning. Chapel Hill’s Kameron Maxey scored on a RBI hit by Darrell Johnson. This lead would remain for a couple of innings. In the bottom of the third, Cedartown’s Easton Oxenreider came home on a sacrifice fly by Jacob Bradshaw, tying the game at one run a piece.

However, pitching struggles for the Bulldogs spelled their doom down the stretch. In the fifth inning, starting pitcher Dalton Bowman allowed an untimely string of singles and walks to bring home Maxey and Johnson. This game the Panthers a 3-1 lead, one they would not relinquish.

Moreover, Cedartown’s inability to bring home base runners did not help their comeback efforts. In the loss, the Bulldogs stranded twelve total runners, including having a bases loaded situation go to waste twice. Chapel Hill’s Will Beasley picked up the complete game victory allowing only one run.

With the loss, the Bulldogs fell to 7-7 overall and 0-1 in region play. They would meet the Panthers once more this week, traveling to Douglasville for the second game of the series last night.

Much like at the open of the past week, their March 20 scoring opened in the first inning as Chapel Hill’s Andrew Walker scored on a RBI double by Bradley Turner. Fortunately for the Cedartown faithful, this is the best Chapel Hill would do on offense for quite some time.

The Bulldogs took the lead in the top of the fourth, as a two-RBI double by Griffin Elder brought home Cade Dingler and Corben Cuzzort. The Bulldogs added to this advantage in the following inning, as Michael Walker crossed home plate on a RBI groundout by MJ Holiday. The score was made 5-1 in the top of the sixth, when Easton Oxenreider scored on a RBI hit by Jerry Simmons.

Chapel Hill would bring across a run in the bottom of the sixth, but that is as close as the game would be. In the end, the Bulldogs won 5-2. This victory was thanks mostly to clutch defense down the stretch mixed with stellar pitching by the aforementioned Holiday. The freshman came in for relief of starting pitcher Tyler Gosdin in the second inning, and went six innings allowing only one run to clinch his first victory as a member of Cedartown’s varsity baseball team.

Cedartown baseball is now 9-7 overall and 2-1 in region play. They were back home last Friday, taking on Sandy Creek and took a big bite out of the Patriots in a 9-1 finish at home.