Sports Columns

March 30, 2014

Devin Golden: Stage now set as NW, SE aim for series win

The team isn’t the exact same, but Northwest Whitfield’s baseball squad is mirroring itself from a season ago.

Six games into the Sub-region 7B-4A schedule, the Bruins have exactly as many wins as they did at this point last season — six. Northwest finished the 2013 sub-region schedule 14-1 and won the region championship in a best-of-three series against Cass. In the past 21 sub-region games, Northwest is one uncharacteristic — and, honestly, befuddling — loss to an inferior LaFayette team from perfection.

Southeast Whitfield, by comparison, has another chance to show it belongs among the ranks of the state tournament contenders and region championship hopefuls.

The Raiders are 3-3 after a three-game sweep last week of LaFayette. Southeast had a chance two weeks ago in a series against Dalton to prove its strong start — winning seven of the first eight games — held weight.

Despite myself and fellow sports writer Chris Whitfield predicting the Raiders win the series, the Catamounts won all three games.

Southeast has another chance to prove this year could be special. Northwest aims for more dominance and more days atop the sub-region standings.

The series between the two teams begins with a doubleheader Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Northwest’s field in Tunnel Hill. The series ends at 5 p.m. Thursday at Southeast’s field.

• Dalton’s boys soccer team is ridiculously good.

The undefeated match streak is at 33 now, and the Catamounts host Chattanooga’s Baylor School at 5 p.m. Tuesday as they try for their 11th win in 12 matches this season. Talk to anyone from the program and they’ll most likely say the streak isn’t that important to them. Dalton coach Matt Cheaves said it wasn’t a concern, nor should it be. The only concern should be championships and what is ahead of the team, not looking back on what it already accomplished.

Still, it’s incredibly impressive, especially when you think about all the local, national and world events that have happened since the last time the Catamounts lost.

Here are some of the things that have happened since the last time Dalton’s boys lost a soccer match nearly two years ago, on May 11, 2012 in the Class 3A quarterfinals to Carrollton: the boys soccer teams at Northwest and Southeast have lost a combined 10 times to Dalton; Northwest’s softball team won two Class 4A state championships; the Miami Heat won two NBA championships; Murray County ended its losing streak in football; Barack Obama was re-elected to a second term as the United States president; the 2012 Summer Olympics and 2014 Winter Olympics started and concluded; Dalton High School jumped from Class 3A to 4A and is designated to jump up again, to 5A for the 2014-2015 school year; Apple introduced and then discontinued production of the iPhone 5, along with introducing the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C; we’ve had snow in the Dalton area at least five times; two local wrestlers, Dalton’s Sidney Wheeler and Southeast’s Carlos Fraire, won individual state championships; Dalton State College hired Tony Ingle as its men’s basketball coach; Facebook changed its layout around 500 times; Benedict XVI resigned as pope; Southeast’s Rhett Harper tore his ACL, recovered and has played in four different sports seasons; Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose sat out an entire season, played in 10 games and suffered another knee injury; David Pennington announced his intentions to run for Georgia governor; Candy Crush Saga and Flappy Bird were introduced to Apple users; Christian Heritage competed in its first GHSA event; Dalton’s swimming and diving team won the Class A-5A state title; we’ve recognized 23 different athletes as the player of the year for their respective sport; the “After Deadline” podcast started; our “Player of the Year” video challenges started and ended; and I got a new car.

• There’s a good bit of high school baseball this week even though it’s Spring break. Dalton hosts LaFayette in 7B-4A action on Monday and Wednesday. The middle game of the series takes place Tuesday at LaFayette. All three games start at 5:30 p.m.

Coahulla Creek plays two Region 5-3A games this week — at home Tuesday versus Adairsville, and at Ringgold on Thursday — and North Murray visits Sonoraville on Tuesday and Cartersville on Thursday.

Christian Heritage plays four times this week. The Lions are at home Tuesday against fellow Sub-region 6A-A school North Cobb Christian, play a doubleheader Friday at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe and host St. Francis on Saturday. All games mentioned start at 5:30 p.m., except for Christian Heritage’s doubleheader against LFO, which starts at 5 p.m., and the Saturday game starting at 2 p.m.

• I’ll be in New Orleans, my hometown, celebrating WrestleMania 30 this weekend. Let’s all do a “Yes!” chant in preparation for Daniel Bryan winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

• It’s almost April, which means it’s almost my birthday. I turn 26 years old in just a few weeks. If anyone is considering a birthday present, I enjoy having an overstock of toilet paper, laundry detergent and Spicy Nacho Doritos.

• Tuesday is April Fool’s Day. Don’t let it go to waste.

Devin Golden is a sports writer for The Daily Citizen. You can write to him at devingolden@daltoncitizen.com or follow him on Twitter at @GoldenDev.

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