The Cartersville 14U baseball team had its Georgia Junior Little League state tournament run come to a close Thursday night with an 8-3 loss to Elbert County in the championship round.
The loss ended a streak of three straight elimination game wins for Cartersville, which finished the year as state runner-up after claiming the District 1 crown.
Elbert County handed Cartersville both losses in the double-elimination tournament in West Point and will now advance to the Junior Little League Southeast Regional Aug. 2-5 in Broadway, Virginia.
Cartersville outhit Elbert County 10-8 Thursday night, but the locals fell behind early and were unable to catch up.
Elbert County led 2-0 after one inning and 6-0 after three frames. Cartersville posted a pair of runs in the fourth inning to narrow the margin to 6-2, but single insurance runs by Elbert in the fifth and sixth innings secured the victory and the state title.
Ayden Ray went most of the way for Cartersville on the mound. Sawyer Wilson took the mound to retire the final out in the sixth inning.
Four Cartersville hitters finished with two hits each. Ray’s two hits included a double and three RBIs. Trenton Payne, Colin Genrich and Geoffrey Gore also contributed a pair of hits each. Gabriel Cox and Wilson both added singles.
Cartersville defeated Athens Junior Little League 9-4 Wednesday night to reach the championship round.
Cartersville led 2-0 after one inning before Athens knotted the score 2-2 in the top of the third. Cartersville plated three runs in its half of the third inning for a 5-2 advantage and would maintain its lead the rest of the way.
Athens narrowed the margin to 5-3 in the top of the fifth, but two more Cartersville runs in both the fifth and sixth innings provided a 9-3 lead. Athens scored a run in the top of the seventh, but Wilson got a groundout and a strikeout to close out the game.
Gore (5.2 IP, 3R, 1ER, 1H, 5BB, 9K) started on the mound for Cartersville and picked up the pitching win. Wilson (1.1 IP, 1ER, 2H, 0BB, 3K) needed only 16 pitches to retire the final four outs.
Ray led the Cartersville offense with three hits, including a double and two RBIs. Gavin Shrewsbury finished with two hits and a pair of RBIs and Gore added two hits.
Luke Altizer had a double and two RBIs. Payne drove in a run with one hit. Colt Williams and Grant Knight added the other Cartersville hits. Genrich drove in a run with a groundout in the fifth inning.