The Trojans (7-3) had four pitchers toe the rubber before all was said and done, with senior Christopher Hicks getting the start and the win behind 4.2 solid innings of work before giving way to the trio of Tanner Roach, Taylor Smith and Max Driver, respectively, with Driver tossing 1.2 innings of perfect ball to pick up the save, fanning two of the four batters he faced.
“Max Driver came in and did a good job [Friday] and threw strikes. We were glad to see that. We were real happy with that,” Carrollton coach Ryan Zaideman said. “It was good to have Hicks out there. He pounded the zone and forced a lot of bad contact. He just works quick. He doesn’t let the hitters get comfortable in there. Our defense plays well behind him because he has such a fast tempo. We’re able to really work quickly on that. He’s been struggling here for a little bit, but it’s good to see him back on his game.”
Carrollton took an early 1-0 lead on an RBI single from Cain Sauls in the bottom of the first, with the Tigers (4-6) tying it up in the top of the third on an unearned run.
The Trojans then grabbed the lead for good in the bottom of the frame, capitalizing on three Adairsville errors that allowed Will Hesterlee to score after getting hit by a pitch and Wil Garrett came around after drawing a two-out walk, getting a Drew Dickey single and a throwing error by Tiger catcher Zach Sherwood for the 3-1 Trojan advantage.
Defensively, the Trojans came up with several big plays to keep the Tigers limited to the one run, with Hicks picking a runner off of first in the second inning, Adairsville getting caught in a rundown between third and home on a failed squeeze attempt in the third, a runner getting gunned down trying to steal third base in the fourth and another runner getting caught in no-man’s land between second and third on a squeeze bunt in the fifth. Tristin Smith went 3-for-3 with a double to lead the Tigers offensively.
Carrollton added some insurance in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI single from Sam Turner, scoring Dickey, who led the inning off with a walk, stole second and went to third on an infield hit by Chip Murrah.
Murrah went 3-for-3 with two stolen bases to lead the Trojan offense, while Sauls (2-for-3, RBI) also had a multiple-hit effort.
“Chip did a great job. He was aggressive on the base paths. When we get him on, we can do a lot of things. He’s a burner for us,” Zaideman said. “It’s was also good to see Cain come out and hit the ball. We’ve got to get him going. He’s a big monster for us. He can drive in a lot of runs.”
Zaideman has had to shuffle his lineup a bit over the past week due to various injuries and ailments, including Dickey being relegated to designated hitter duties because of tendinitis in his shoulder.
Ty Wood handled catching duties on Friday and freshman Roury Glanton has also stepped up to get some varsity time behind the plate over the past few days against Heritage, Catoosa and Cartersville.
“[Glanton is] going to be good for us down the road. And then with Ty back there, he’s just a gifted athlete that can play about anywhere we put him. So with his arm strength and athletic ability, he does a really good job,” Zaideman said.
The Trojans are off until Tuesday when they are scheduled to play Hillgrove in a 5:55 p.m. home game. But with rain in the forecast Monday and the Hawks scheduled to play Marietta in a region game that day, it could make for a conflict.
Carrollton, meanwhile, opens its Region 5-AAAA slate next week at home against Columbus on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
“I’m hoping it doesn’t rain, because if [Hillgrove] gets rained out on Monday, we’re going to have to cancel our game because they’ve got a region game [Tuesday]. So they’ve got to play on the next available day. That’s going to be up in the air,” Zaideman said.