In a tournament with some of the best high school baseball teams from around the country, Cartersville is proving it belongs among the elite.
It took awhile to warm up, but the Canes found a rhythm at the plate in the last two innings to earn a comeback win over Grayson by a final score of 8-1 Friday in the Perfect Game HS Showdown quarterfinals at LakePoint.
That puts Cartersville in the semifinals of the prestigious tournament today at 10 a.m. on LakePoint Field 16 against the Providence Stallions from Florida. It is the first time the Canes have made it to the semifinals in the five years they have been entered in the ultra-competitive showcase.
Providence was the team that eliminated Cartersville in the 2017 tournament’s quarterfinals. The Stallions defeated the No. 28-ranked team in the country, Loganville, on Friday to advance.
The winner of the Cartersville-Providence game will take on the winner of Parkview (No. 2 in the country) and Blessed Trinity (No. 1 in Class 4A) at 12:30 p.m. today.
For awhile, it looked like the Canes were going to have a similar result to the ones they had the last two years of the PG HS Showdown — losing in the quarterfinals.
However, a three-run sixth and a five-run seventh made the game look like a rout, even though Cartersville trailed after the first five innings.
The knock that opened the floodgates came off the bat of Devin Warner in the top of the sixth. His one-out single with runners on the corners tied the game at one-apiece. Anthony Seigler scored the tying run after doubling to lead off the frame.
Jake Gooch was the next batter, and he doubled to left field to give Cartersville a 2-1 lead. During the next at bat, after a pitching change, Warner scored on a passed ball to make it 3-1 after 5 1/2 innings of play.
The momentum the Canes gained in the sixth inning translated to the top of the seventh when they put together a stretch of six consecutive batters reaching base and five runs scored, all with just one out.
After Garrett Shelton and Seigler singled and Ian Inaba walked to begin the rally, Mason Barnett lined a single to center field to score one run. Warner then doubled to bring home two more. Barnett scored on a passed ball and Gooch singled to score another, giving the game its final of 8-1.
Seigler was not only involved in both the sixth- and seventh-inning rallies at the plate, he also pitched brilliantly in the complete-game win. He allowed just one unearned run after an error allowed Grayson to score in the first inning. The senior Florida commit, undoubtedly with pro scouts in the stands, did not walk a batter and struck out five while throwing just 80 pitches — some left-handed and some right-handed.
Along with Seigler, Warner and Gooch each went 2-for-4 in the game with doubles. Warner and Seigler scored two runs apiece, while Warner added three RBIs and Gooch had two.
For the first five innings, though, the Canes’ bats were silent. Cartersville was held without a hit in the first four innings.
J.P. Martin finally broke through in the fifth with a single off senior Emory commit Bryant Wise. However, Wise got out of a jam, despite Cartersville putting runners on second and third with one out.
Cartersville is now 10-3, winning its last five and eight of its last nine, highly impressive considering its strong non-region schedule.