By Anthony Rhoads
When you're playing one of the top teams in the state, you can't afford to make mistakes.
But that's exactly what happened to the Lovejoy Wildcats in a 9-0 loss to East Coweta, the No. 3-ranked team in Class AAAAA.
Lovejoy (3-8 overall, 2-2 in Region 4-AAAAA) committed four errors while its pitchers registered six walks and three hit batsmen in the loss.
"We should have been down by one run after the fourth inning but we were down 7-0," Lovejoy head coach Craig Chatman said. "We had a good opportunity to get out of the first inning unscathed and I think that made the difference right there. East Coweta is a good team, don't get me wrong, but I think our kids sell themselves short."
Lovejoy only collected three hits and two of those came in the seventh inning against a relief pitcher.
"We hit the ball hard but right at people," Chatman said. "Our season is by no means over. We can play with these guys. We're really hitting the ball well but we have to play a little defense."
East Coweta (14-0) didn't have any problems with its pitching or defense Monday.
Starting pitcher Brett Butts worked four innings, striking out eight. He allowed only one hit, a single by Edmond Sparks, in the second inning.
The East Coweta defense didn't make any errors and turned two double plays.
Even though East Coweta scored nine runs and racked up eight hits, the squad left 14 runners on bases. The team left the bases loaded twice.
"I was obviously pleased with the pitching," East Coweta head coach Franklin DeLoach said. "We won by nine runs but I feel like if they had made some plays here and there it would have been a tight ball game. Honestly, I'm not very pleased with how we played. We can't continue to hit the ball like this and be successful. We didn't seem intense or enthusiastic."
Getting help from former pros: The East Coweta baseball team has two former Major League pitchers as assistants including 1987 Cy Young Award winner Steve Bedrosian and Ricky Behenna. Both have sons who play for the Indians.
"It's great that I've got those guys who forgot more about pitching than I will ever know," DeLoach said. "It's wonderful and they're great coaches. I'm honored to have the 1987 Cy Young winner in my dugout and they both bring a lot to the table."
Coming back to Clayton County: DeLoach was able to come back to his home county Tuesday with East Coweta traveling to Lovejoy.
DeLoach played high school baseball at Jonesboro for head coach Don Corr and he was an assistant at Lovejoy High School in 1997. The 1997 Lovejoy baseball team was the first in school history to make the state playoffs.