I made the short drive to nearby Carrollton High School yesterday to watch the Carrollton Trojans Baseball team take on Woodward Academy in the second game of their three game series. The first game was played Wednesday at Woodward and the Trojans took it home by a score of 10-7.
Yesterday, the tables turned and Woodward got the 6-1 win. This made the stakes even higher for tonight’s game set for 5:30, again at Woodward.
#7, senior Mitch McLendon, got the start on the mound for Carrollton. The first at bat for Woodward ended with no hits, no errors, and no walks. McLendon struck out the first batter as well.
In Carrollton’s first at bat, the first two batters struck out. These two strikeouts were followed by a single by #2, senior Roury Glanton. #24, junior Sam Barge, then hit a triple that scored Glanton all the way from 1st base. This made the score 1-0 in favor of Carrollton. The next batter grounded out for Carrollton and ended the 1st inning.
In the 2nd inning, McLendon struck out the first Woodward batter and then he hit the second batter with a pitch. After throwing a wild pitch, the runner made it to 2nd base. This was followed by a single that put runners on 1st and 3rd with only one out.
The runner on 1st then stole 2nd which put two runners in scoring position for Woodward. A sacrifice bunt was then called and Roury Glanton made an excellent play from his 1st base position to get the runner out at home. This again put runners on 1st and 3rd, now with two outs. McLendon then forced a grounder back to himself that ended that at bat for Woodward. Carrollton was heading into the bottom of the 2nd still up 1-0.
This at bat was short lived for Carrollton as the first batter #1, senior William Curvino, struck out, the second batter #3, senior Austin Garrett, grounded out, and the third batter #8, senior Jack Garrett, struck out.
The next inning for Carrollton got a little sloppy defensively. Two balks, an error, a walk, and a hit given up by McLendon allowed a Woodward run to score tying the game at 1-1.
Carrollton was anxious to get back out in the lead in the bottom of the third inning. After #5, sophomore Andy Smith, started it off by getting struck out, #16, junior Tate Fricks, nearly hit a homerun. His double one hopped the fence over the fight fielder’s head and set himself up to score.
McLendon then did his part on the offensive side as he singled to first and beat out the throw. This advanced Fricks to 3rd base. Roury Glanton then flew out to right field for the second out. Sam Barge was then intentionally walked, loading the bases for #11, junior Mike Wright.
What looked like it could be a multiple run inning ended for Carrollton as Mike Wright struck out, leaving the bases loaded. The score heading into the top of the fourth was still 1-1.
A lead off single followed by a sacrifice bunt put a Woodward runner on 2nd base with one out. This was followed by two consecutive groundouts that gave Carrollton their chance to bat in the fourth.
William Curvino started the inning off for Carrollton but he hit a pop up to the catcher. Austin Garrett and Jack Garrett then flew out and grounded out respectively, ending the inning.
Woodward finally took their first lead of the game in the fifth inning as they got 3 runs on 4 hits and a walk. Carrollton’s Coach met with McLendon on the mound before the at bat ended but decided to leave him in the game. After the third out was recorded, Carrollton was down 4-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth.
This at bat was again short for CHS as the first three batters were retired. When Woodward came out in the top of the 6th, they were facing a new pitcher. Austin Garrett was now in to pitch for Carrollton.
The inning started off with a single for Woodward, but that was followed by a fielder’s choice. The next batter hit a line drive to center field that did not look like it would be caught. However, it was caught and the runner had to hurry back to first base before a double-play was made.
When the throw to 1st was too late, some voices from the Trojan Clubhouse started yelling that the runner did not touch 2nd base on his return to 1st. After the players realized the play was still going, Glanton threw the ball to second and the runner was called out. It was one of the more unusal double-plays I had seen, but it worked in favor of the Trojans.
It was now the bottom of the 6th and Carrollton was still down 4-1. Roury Glanton started the at bat off with a double for Carrollton. This looked as if they would surely get a run with a man on 2nd and no one out. Unfortunately, that was not the case. The next three Carrollton batters hit either grounders or pop-ups and Roury was left stranded at 3rd base.
This put us in our seventh and final inning of the game. Austin Garrett got the first batter to ground out. He then gave up a single and walked a batter. A botched pick-off move then allowed a run to score from second base and made the score 5-1 with Woodward Academy on top.
The next batter hit a single for Woodward and that scored another run making it 6-1. Garrett then struck out a batter for the 2nd out of the inning. After that, he hit a batter with a pitch and gave up another single and this loaded the bases. Garrett was then replaced with another Carrollton pitcher who got the batter to ground out, ending the inning. Austin Garrett ended his day with 1.2 IP, 1 K, 1 BB, gave up 4 hits, and allowed 2 earned runs.
It was now Carrollton’s final chance to get some runs on the board or they would lose the game. A single followed by a walk put Austin Garret and Jack Garret on 2nd and 1st base. The next batter struck out, but Tate Fricks followed that with a single. This loaded the bases for Carrollton with only one out.
The next batter, Mitch McLendon, laid down a bunt and the runner was thrown out at home. I believe the signals may have gotten mixed up because Carrollton’s 3rd base coach looked as if he was displeased with McLendon’s decision to bunt.
The bases were still loaded, but now there were two outs. Roury Glanton was now up to bat in the crucial situation. Unfortunately for Carrollton fans, he could not capitalize and hit a fly ball to center, ending the game.
Mitch McLendon got the loss for Carrollton after pitching 5 innings. He gave up 7 hits, 4 earned runs, 2 BB, and struck out 2.
Around the Region
This made Carrollton’s overall record fall to 13-12 and 9-5 in the region. Right now, they hold the 2nd place spot in the region, meaning they will host the 1st round playoff series. However, with one game left on the schedule, things could change. Woodward Academy is right behind Carrollton. They are 12-13 but have a 8-6 region record. The two teams have each beaten each other once, and face off for the tiebreak tonight.
If Carrollton wins, they will hold a 2-game lead in the region for 2nd place will host a playoff series. If they lose, Woodward will be tied with Carrollton in overall wins, and will also be tied in the region with a 9-6 record. Not only that, but they will have beaten CHS two of the three times they played, giving them 2nd place in the region.
So, the game tonight set for 5:30 at Woodward Academy has a lot riding on it. Whoever wins gets to host a playoff series, whoever loses goes on the road.
If the playoffs started today, then this is what the match ups would be for Carrollton’s region. They are in region 5AAAA and will face off with region 8AAAA.
- Troup Co. (5AAAA) vs 4. Madison Co. (8AAAA)
- Carrollton (5AAAA) vs 3. N. Oconee (8AAAA)
- Woodward Academy (5AAAA) @ 2. North Hall (8AAAA)
- Whitewater (5AAAA) @ 1. Buford (8AAAA)
Troup County and Whitewater have locked up the #1 and #4 seeds in the region. Depending on tonight’s game, Carrollton and Woodward could flip-flop. If Carrollton wins, they will face North Oconee at home in a series. If they lose, they will travel to North Hall for an away series.
A full AAAA GHSA playoff bracket can be found by clicking this link
Despite not having the watermark in the bottom right-hand corner, these photos were still taken by me, Brandon Wright.