March 22, 2013

Hits keep coming

Big finish helps Cats rout Raiders

By Doug Hawley

— For the second time this week, Dalton High School’s baseball team claimed a resounding victory over area and Sub-region 7B-4A rival Southeast Whitfield.

During the latest win, the Catamounts erupted for 11 runs in the seventh inning to triumph over the host Raiders, 20-2 on Thursday. On Tuesday, Dalton hosted the Raiders and won 10-0.

Those two conquests give Dalton a 2-0 start in sub-region play after a 1-6 start to the season. Southeast fell to 3-7 overall and 0-2 in the sub-region. The teams meet again at 5:30 p.m. today in Dalton, part of the three-game series-style schedule Sub-region 7B-4A coaches opted for this season.

“Our goal this week is to win three games,” Dalton coach Shane Ramsey said. “We haven’t done that yet. We’re not going to take anybody lightly in any game.”

Brandon Dale pitched a five-hitter for the easy win, with the senior right-hander allowing one earned run while striking out six batters and walking two.

Dale also was one of two Cats to collect three hits in a 13-hit attack, and he also had three RBIs.

Asked if he favored his pitching or hitting heroics, Dale answered diplomatically with a smile, “I prefer the 20-2 score.”

Pressed further, he said, “I believe that I’d take the hitting.”

Dale surprisingly threw 113 pitches in low 40-degree temperatures that kept spectators shivering.

“I felt pretty good,” he said. “This was my first game back in four and a half weeks after having problems with my AC (shoulder) joint.”

Said Ramsey, “We were keeping a close watch on him. He’s an older kid. He was throwing his fastball primarily. He was throwing 83 or 84 (miles per hour). He topped out at 86.”

Tyler Britton shared 3-for-4 hitting honors with Dale, while Matt Wells went 2-for-3. Grant Sane had a two-run home run in the second inning and drove in another run with a sacrifice fly.

“We’re looking at the next game as a new day,” said acting Southeast head coach Bubba Thomas. “Before the last inning, we were a couple of pitches away most of the time.”

Thomas is filling in for Raiders head coach Brad Lofton, who was ejected during Tuesday’s game and must sit out two games per Georgia High School Association regulations.

Devin Gentry, the first of four Southeast pitchers, led his team’s offense with a 2-for-3 effort at the plate.

Will Erwin, who pitched a no-hitter in the Cats’ run rule-shortened five-inning clash earlier against the Raiders, got Dalton on the scoreboard in the first inning with a two-run single.

Southeast narrowed the count to 2-1 in its half of the inning. Abram Stanley singled and scored on Jose Vargas’ single.

In the field, the Raiders were plagued by five errors. That contributed to five unearned runs as the Catamounts built a 6-2 lead through two innings. Dalton had two errors.

That marathon final inning, which had 15 Dalton players going to the plate, took 45 minutes to play.