CALHOUN, Ga. — Chip Henderson couldn't recall the last time -- or any time -- one of his Calhoun High School baseball teams pounded out 13 hits and none of them went for extra bases. That's just what the Yellow Jackets did Wednesday in game one of their GHSA Class AA second-round series against Cook County, rolling to a 10-0 five-inning win in workmanlike style.
The Jackets completed the sweep with a 6-1 win, setting up a quarterfinal matchup against familiar playoff foe Lovett, tentatively scheduled for a 5 p.m. doubleheader start to the best-of-three series Tuesday.
"We're playing well right now," Henderson said after his team out-hit the Hornets 20-4 and played errorless ball. "It took us a while to get to this point where we're getting quality pitching, good defense -- this is another series without any errors -- and timely hits. We're getting baserunners on to extend innings, and that's big because from here on it gets even tougher.
"These guys are seeing the ball well up and down the lineup and not trying to do too much with it. They're taking good approaches to the plate, getting good pitches and taking advantage of it."
Senior ace Austin Norrell pitched a one-hitter in game one, striking out eight without issuing a walk in what Henderson called one of the three-year starter's best games. He received all the runs he would need in the first inning on Westin McArthur's two-out RBI single.
The Jackets (20-5-1) led 4-0 in the bottom of the fifth when they erupted for six runs on RBI hits from Trent Frix, Josh Schubert, Grant Quist and a game-ending two-run single by pinch-hitter Josh Barnes.
Calhoun jumped to a 2-0 lead on Norrell's double in the top of the first inning of game two. Starting pitcher Schubert worked through several jams -- mostly due to eight walks in 4 2/3 innings -- to get the hard-earned win. He stranded the bases loaded in the second by getting back-to-back strikeouts, did the same in the fourth to strand two runners and ended the game allowing only one hit with nine strikeouts.
Cook pitcher Tyler Quick silenced the Calhoun bates after the first, but the Jackets got to him in the fifth after back-to-back singles by Quist and Nate Green to open the inning. An error and RBI doubles by Frix and Norrell led to a four-run inning that gave the Jackets more than enough insurance.
"At the beginning of the year we didn't know how to adapt to the new bats, but somewhere along the line it clicked and we realized we are a good-hitting team," senior Schubert said. "I can't express how much better we're swinging it now. It's been really something special lately, and I can't wait to get to the next round."
Quist had five hits and three RBIs on the day, with Norrell adding four hits.
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...