Friday’s baseball game between Chestatee and White County magnified how physically grueling a week its been for both teams. Weather cancellations earlier in the week made for a busy stretch early in the Region 7-AAA schedule. With games postponed from Monday, most in 7-AAA are having to play four games in as many days.
"It’s been physically taxing for everyone," said Chestatee coach Wes Gentry after his team’s 8-7 home win. "Our goal was to finish the week 2-1 and we were able to do that."
"It’s been a pretty tough week, but we’re all kind of in the same boat," echoed White County coach John Brown.
With such a crazy week, both teams had to make adjustments in their pitching rotations. War Eagles (2-1, 2-1 Region 7-AAA) sophomore Scott Chewning pitched a complete game with 10 strikeouts to earn the win. Chestatee’s coach decided it was appropriate to bend his early-season 65-pitch rule, letting his No. 3 starter throw 116 pitches without having to dip into his bullpen.
Chewning battled on the mound, even though the Warriors managed to come back to tie the game at seven, after trailing 6-1 in the third inning.
Gentry said he’s continuing to gain confidence in Chewning’s pitching abilities.
"Scott did a heck of a job out there tonight," said Gentry. "Our guys just stuck in there and continued to grind it out."
The War Eagles also got the added benefit of drawing a bye today, avoiding having to play four games in one week.
White County (2-2, 1-2) was looking to rebound from Thursday’s 10-run loss to Creekview.
With four games this week, Brown decided to throw his No. 4 starter against Creekview, allowing his No. 3 starter Kyle Mills to be able to go against the War Eagles.
That plan to focus on winning the Chestatee game didn’t go exactly as intended. Chestatee got to the Warriors’ bullpen early with five runs in the second inning. Then with the score tied 7-7 in the sixth, Chestatee’s Brantley Beck connected on an RBI single, driving in Lamar Brooks for the eventual game-winning run.
"I think this game is going to be a huge confidence boost for our team," Gentry said. "We’re starting to learn that we can play with these other teams in the region."
Chestatee originally broke the game open with five runs in the second inning.
Zach Bennett started the scoring with an RBI double to score Zack Sisk, and came around to score on an RBI single from Ryan Avery. Then with the bases loaded and two outs, Chewning legged out an infield single that scored Spenser Gruenenfelder from third and Avery from second, with Avery sliding in safe just before the catcher’s tag.
Bennett finished the game 3-for-3 and drove in two runs. Sisk and Gruenenfelder each had two hits.
White County rebounded with three runs in the third and two in the fourth. In the third, David Sosebee, Bart Westmoreland, Travis Rutkiewicz and Zach Messmore strung together four straight hits to score a pair of runs. Messmore and Sosebee added another RBI single in the fourth. Messmore finished the game with two hits and four RBIs. Sosebee was 3-for-4 with one run.
Rutkiewicz, Westmoreland and Mills each added two hits for the Warriors.
White County next plays host to West Hall at 1 p.m. today in Cleveland. Chestatee visits Gainesville at 5:55 p.m. Monday at Ivey-Watson Field.