A marathon top of the first inning proved to be more than enough for the Cartersville baseball team to ease to an 8-1 victory Saturday over Sonoraville.
Playing at State Mutual Stadium in Rome, which hosted the Class 4A state championship series last year, the Canes (11-3) put those bad memories behind them with an offensive explosion out of the gates.
Josh Davis walked on four straight pitches to begin the game before a popout. The next eight batters, including Davis, all reached as Cartersville raced out to a 6-0 lead.
Preston Welchel singled home Davis, who had stolen second base, to start the onslaught. Jordan Wilkie and Ian Inaba followed with singles to load the bases.
Welchel scored when J.P. Martin was hit by a pitch; Wilkie crossed the plate on a wild pitch; and Inaba came home on Mason Barnett's RBI single.
Kolby Adams brought in Martin on a run-scoring single before Noah Davis was plunked to load the bases. Josh Davis followed with his second walk of the inning, this one forcing home the sixth run of the frame.
After Logan Martin worked around a leadoff single in the home half of the first, Cartersville tacked on another run. Wilkie opened the second with a single, and Inaba followed with an RBI double.
Following the rocky first inning, Sonoraville's pitching settled down. The Phoenix even managed to get a run on the board in the fifth, thanks to two walks, a steal and a passed ball. However, Cartersville turned a double play as the run scored to help keep Sonoraville from mounting any significant threat.
The Canes also countered with a run of their own in the sixth to restore the seven-run lead. A bases-loaded sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Brant Smith scored Wilkie, who had reached on a fielder's choice.
Josh Davis led Cartersville offensively, finishing 2-for-2 with a pair of walks, a run scored and an RBI. Inaba also wound up 2-for-2. He walked, scored once and drove in a run. Wilkie added two hits and three runs scored. Alan Thacker and Gage Morris each singled in their lone at-bats.
On the mound, Logan Martin fired three scoreless innings to earn the win. He allowed both Phoenix hits on the day but struck out one on just 37 pitches. J.P. Martin, Reece Thompson, Inaba and Hayden Davidson each followed with one inning apiece. Thompson allowed the lone run, although it was unearned.
Cartersville will open Region 5-AAAA play with a trip Monday to LaGrange. Thanks to a new region format that follows what Cass and Woodland do in Region 7-AAAAA, the Canes will host the Grangers on Wednesday to finish out the two-game set.