Instead, the Bulldogs (18-9) forgot the popular “home run ball” of today’s generation and relied on the long-time saying that “great pitching beats great hitting” as they swept past Riverwood, 4-3 and 5-2, to advance to the state quarterfinals.
The Raiders (21-8) entered the second-round series having scored 98 runs in their past eight games, including 28 in their first-round series.
However, on Wednesday, Drew Owens and Clay Mobbs threw back-to-back complete games and combined to strike out 17 batters while allowing only four earned runs.
“Our pitchers threw well today,” said Cedartown Head Coach Doyle Kelley. “They (Riverwood) were a good hitting team but Drew and Clay were on top of their games. I’m very proud of how both of them threw.”
In game one, Owens pitched seven innings and allowed six hits while striking out three and forcing 12 groundouts. In game two, Mobbs struck out 14 batters and held the powerful swinging Raiders to seven hits.
“We just had some great pitching,” Kelley said. “Both of those kids wanted to pitch today and the determination they showed on the mound was great.”
Though Owens’ curveball was baffling the Riverwood hitters all game during the first contest, an unearned run did cross home in the top of the first due to a Bulldog error.
Cedartown took the lead in the bottom half of the inning when Trey Kelley belted a two-run homer after Eric McGee’s laser double to left centerfield.
Riverwood scored their first earned run of the game in the third inning when Jeret Adair homered off of a low Owens curveball. But, Cedartown quickly regained the lead in the bottom of the third when McGee reached on an infield single, and two batters later Seth Rice doubled to make it 3-2.
Each team added a run during the last four innings of play, as Cedartown squeaked out a thriller in front of a packed house.
“It was great to get that win in the first game,” Kelley said. “Especially playing in front of such a large crowd. The stands were full and the fans were excited so it was good to win in front of them.”
McGee and Kelley were the offensive heroes in game one for the Bulldogs, as McGee went 2-for-2 with a walk and Kelley ended the game 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI.
“The kids really put it on the line,” Kelley added. “They put forth a great team effort and showed a lot of heart in the process.”
In game two, the Bulldogs took an early 2-1 lead in the second inning and never looked back as Mobbs silenced the Riverwood bats.
Cedartown scored two runs in the top of the second when Rice and Mobbs hit back-to-back singles and Dustin J. Little reached on an error that scored Rice.
The next batter, Blake Terry, blooped in a single on a hit-and-run play to give the Bulldogs the lead for good.
Cedartown added three insurance runs in the seventh inning on one hit, one error, one walk and two hit batters.
“Riverwood is a good ball team, and I don’t want to take anything away from them,” Kelley said. “But we are pretty good ourselves, and it feels great to be one of the final eight teams left in state.”
Terry led Cedartown offensively as he went 3-for-3 with an RBI. Rice, McGee and Mobbs all added one hit each for the Bulldogs.
Cedartown will now advance into the Class AAA quarterfinals to face the Shaw Raiders of Region 2-AAA today. Shaw, which is located in Columbus, is 19-12 on the year.
The Raiders advanced to the quarterfinals by eliminating Cross Creek in three games last week.