It’s Canes vs. Woodward
by David Royal
May 08, 2013 | 1299 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cartersville didn’t make it through arguably one of its most challenging seasons by overlooking any team lining up on the baseball diamond with it.

That’s how it was able to stack up 22 victories and still counting against some formidable opposition.

The Canes certainly won’t be overlooking their opponent today, as they welcome playoff-tested Woodward Academy to the friendly confines of Richard Bell Field.

“For a second-round matchup, it’s a tough one,” Cartersville head coach Stuart Chester said. “I’m sure they’re in the top 5 in the state anyway.”

But he said playing tough foes early is something the Canes should be accustomed to.

“It goes back to the Columbus days, where we used to meet in the third round,” he said. “But you have to play everybody at some point ... we’ll just get out there and get after it.”

Chester said the War Eagles have some good stats but said it’s always how good the players behind those stats that is the real concern to the Canes.

“Stats — even with us — are relative to your opponent. They are a good ball club. They swing it well. They play good defense, and they’ve got good pitching.”

He said the War Eagles’ go-to-guy is a rightie, Richard Jackson.

“He’s a very good pitcher,” Chester said. “He’s mid-to-high 80s with a good breaking pitch.”

He said several War Eagles are a threat at the plate.

“Their catcher, [Zach] Wingate has a lot of power. They’ve got some sticks in their lineup. They’ve got guys on the mound who can cause you problems.”

Chester said the team plays a good brand of baseball.

“They don’t beat themselves and they make their plays,” he added.

The two teams kick off the Sweet 16 round of the state playoffs at 4 p.m. They play a second game around 7 p.m. with a 4 p.m. game set for Thursday “if necessary” in the best-of-three series.

This year’s Woodward Academy sports an 18-8 overall record and is 11-3 in Region 6B-AAA.

The War Eagles hung their hats on offense and defense, scoring an average of nine runs while allowing just two.

Those victories include eight shutouts, one against a state playoff team. That victory came Friday against White County, who Woodward defeated 5-2 and 9-0 in advancing to the second round of the state playoffs.

The Purple Hurricanes put up similarly impressive numbers. Cartersville has a 22-6 record overall, including 14-0 in Region 5-AAA.

The Canes scored an average of seven runs per outing while giving up two runs.

Cartersville shut out 11 teams, including a playoff squad. The playoff team was Morgan County, who they defeated 8-3 and 3-0 Friday night.

Both teams have been challenged outside their regions.

Woodward played Newnan, a 6-A school, and North Atlanta, a 5-A school, losing to both.

The War Eagles also played perennial state power Columbus, now a 4-A school, falling 6-2.

The private school also played four Florida schools in late February and early March, going 3-1 against those foes.

Cartersville also stepped out of its region to play quality upper division schools.

The Canes played seven schools in Georgia from higher classifications and participated in the early April Perfect Game Tournament, which paired them and three other top Georgia schools against four top Florida schools. The Canes went 1-3 against four of the best teams that play ball in the Sunshine State and had other victories within its grasp.

The winner of the Cartersville-Woodward matchup will play the winner of the Dodge Co.-Callaway contest.