Gators want a repeat

By Ronald Frazier

The defending AISA 2016 class AAA baseball champions, Glenwood, has one goal in mind for 2017 and that is to return to the championship series and make it two state titles in a row.

The Gators started their 2017 campaign by splitting their first two contests, losing a hard-fought 4-3 game to Shaw High School of Columbus Feb. 9 at Golden Park and then traveling to Eufaula and defeating Lakeside, 9-2.

Going for the Gators are 13 seniors on the squad that have a lot of game experience. Up the middle looks to be in good hands with four-year starters Chase Dennis and Brandon Moseley and center fielder Carson Allison all back. Missing is all-state pitcher Carson Hicks and the 2016 MVP catcher, Tyler Cadenhead, who was also the team’s No. 2 pitcher. But returning is lefthander Daniel Holley who pitched a complete game that clinched the 2016 title.

“Daniel will be our No. 1 and we will have to see where the pitching will go from there. We have experience but are missing a lot of innings with Hicks and Cadenhead,” said Glenwood coach Tim Fanning.

Holley started the game against Shaw and gave up one unearned run and one hit in four solid innings. Glenwood scored single runs in the first, second and fifth innings to build a 3-1 lead. However, the fifth was also big because of missed chances as Glenwood left the bases loaded, getting the one run.

Jarrett Carter relieved Holley and pitched a one, two, three, fifth before the 6th inning unraveled. In that frame, Shaw scored three runs after two outs and took a 4-3 lead. Shaw’s top pitcher from 2016, 6-5 Andrew Tillery then came in and retired the last three Glenwood players to preserve the win.

“For a first game, it was a pretty well-played contest. But we left too many guys on base and it came back and bit us,” said Fanning after the contest with the Raiders.

Moseley also did not play as the team captain suffered a broken nose during the basketball season and it required surgery. However, his defensive replacement Jacob Harper made two plays in the field that preserved the Glenwood lead until the fateful 6th. Allison, Nick Adams and newcomer Slade James had the RBI in the loss to Shaw, which was historic as it was the first time that Glenwood was allowed to play a public school in Georgia, thanks to a change in the Georgia High school rules.

“Great atmosphere and great game, we just have to go back and work on some things and get better,” Fanning finalized.

The Gators got better as Glenwood put on their hitting shoes in the 9-2 win over Lakeside Feb. 13. The Gators used four pitchers in the contest including 6-7 Amaury Telemarco who struck out four Lakeside batters in two innings. Ryan Bankston, Chaz Floyd and Tyler Keefe also pitched in the contest for Glenwood. 

“We are going to have to have these guys step up and throw innings for us to replace Hicks and Cadenhead,” said Fanning of his pitching staff.

Adams contributed three hits while Carter had two hits and 3 RBI in the game to pace the attack. Moseley was also back in the lineup and had an RBI as well for Glenwood, now 1-1 on the season. 

Glenwood will not play again until Feb. 20 when they travel to Abbeville for two games against Hooper Academy and Northside Methodist.