Florida trip pays dividends for Canes
by Staff Report
Apr 07, 2013 | 592 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sometime today, a chartered bus is expected to pull into the Cartersville High School parking lot. Departing the bus will be a road-weary, battled-tested group of ballplayers who spent the past three days competing in Perfect Game’s High School Showdown held in Fort Myers, Fla.

Cartersville was one of four Georgia teams invited to travel south by bus to play four of the top high school baseball teams Florida had to offer.

“I know we would have liked to have won more games, but everybody should be proud of how we competed against the best teams ... not only in the state of Florida ... but in the nation,” Cartersville coach Stuart Chester said. “These were teams who play in the highest classification in Florida and who make you earn every run you score, every game you win.”

The Venice (Fla.) Indians, who the Canes played and lost to Saturday, are currently ranked No. 3 in the nation.

Although the Canes outhit the Indians, 4-2, they were shutout, 2-0. In their victory, the Indians scored a run in the top of the first and fifth innings.

Starting pitcher Garrett Rutledge pitched five innings for Cartersville before JoJo Underwood relieved him in the sixth.

In the fourth and concluding game of the tournament, the Canes clawed back to trail only 3-2 in the fifth but were unable to do any further offensive damage in their 5-2 loss to the Sarasota (Fla.) Sailors. The Canes’ Connor Justus pitched a complete game. Underwood and Beau Benefield both produced run-scoring singles.

“We had our chances to head home 4-0 in the tournament,” Chester said. “One pitch, one play either way could have made the difference. Overall, though, we are excited about returning to Cartersville and getting back to region play.”

Cartersville won Game 1 of the Florida-based tournament, defeating Montverde Academy, 7-2, Thursday. Chester described Hayes Linn’s 13 strikeout, complete-game performance against Montverde Academy as one “of the most dominating I have ever seen.”

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