October 27, 2021

Braves blast Cavs behind monster performance from Tray Owens

(Franklin, GA) — A phenomenal effort by junior Tray Owens both on the mound and at the plate led the Heard County Braves to an impressive 10-0 win over arch Region 5-AA rival Callaway at Alford Field Tuesday.

Owens baffled Cavalier batters all game long as he tossed his second no-hitter of the season. He walked just two and struck out five in the complete game six-inning win to open a three game series slated to conclude with a doubleheader in Lagrange on Friday.

Owens also led the way at the plate as he helped himself out with a 3-for-4 performance including his sixth home run of the season — a solo shot that scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the first. He doubled and drove home three in the game to push his season RBI total to 28, also a team high.

Senior Tanner Collins drove home Mason Rollings with the game’s second run in the first and the game stayed close at 2-0 before the home-standing Braves broke it open with six more runs in the bottom of the fourth to extend the lead to 8-0.

The game ended 10-0 via run rule following a bases-loaded error by the Cavs with no outs in the sixth.

Mason Rollings continued his scorching hot hitting at the plate going 3-for-3, Rollings has tallied multiple hits in nine of his last 15 games (including four homers in his last eight games) to raise his team leading batting average to .462.

The win pushes the Braves’ Region 5-AA record to 7-6 but they still have more work to do Friday to improve their current No. 4 region seed in the upcoming Class AA State playoffs.

The Braves likely need a three game sweep of the No. 2 seeded Cavs to move up to the No. 3 seed and would need further help from Jordan versus Lamar County this week to have a shot at the No. 2 seed and a chance to host a first round state playoff series. Head coach Trent Bianco was elated about Owens’s effort versus the No. 4 ranked team in the state according to Score Atlanta.

“Tray Owens was just great today. That is the best he has pitched since he has been in a Heard County uniform and he has already been pretty good for us,” said Bianco after the game.

Bianco was pleased to see the entire squad put together such a solid game against one of the state’s best teams.

“It’s always good to get off on the right foot in a series against a really good team like Callaway and it is nice that we could put it together but at the same time we have to get back to work tomorrow to get ready for the rest of the series because we know they will come back ready to play on Friday” added Bianco.

The Braves head coach was also really pleased with the defensive effort in the game.

“It was our best team effort offensively today, but our defense was also a huge key. Dale Thornhill made some great plays at shortstop for us today, but you know that’s not surprising because Dale always makes great plays for us. I’m just proud of everybody.”

The Braves dropped three close hard-fought games to private schools last week and Bianco believes facing the good pitching and talented teams was helpful in Tuesday’s big win.

Despite a less than flashy 10-14 overall record, he thinks his team can compete with anyone in the state when they are playing well.

“As we have shown over the last few years, a great and fancy regular season record doesn’t mean much to us — it’s all about performing and playing our best a the right time of the year. If this group performs like they are capable of and continues to work together we can go as far  as we want no matter what seed we are.”

The Braves are scheduled to face Callaway in the road doubleheader Friday starting at 4:30 PM although the twin bill could be moved up to Thursday depending on the weather forecast.

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