May 16, 2021

Braves earn ‘Diamond Day’ sweep over Red Devils, Bulldogs

The Braves welcome Tray Owens to the plate following his big 3-run Homer in a 9-7 win over Bowdon Saturday at W.C. Roop Field (Photo courtesy of Tammy Bailey Photography)

(Bowdon, GA) — The Braves varsity baseball team had a big day Saturday as they notched wins over the Ranburne Bulldogs and the Bowdon Red Devils on ‘Diamond Day’ at W.C. Roop Field at Bowdon High.

The wins came at a great time as the squad was looking for some momentum with the important Region 5-AA slate of games kicking off with a three-game series versus Lamar County this week.

Junior Leroy Marsh was one of the heros in the two team sweep as he garnered a couple of big career firsts.

Marsh blasted his first career homer, a grand slam no less, in the game one 13-0 win over the Bulldogs and then followed that up with his first career win on the mound in relief during a 9-7 nightcap over the hosting Devils.

The Bulldogs were no match for the Braves in game one with the game ending in just five innings due to the mercy rule.

After pushing two runs across the plate in each of the first two innings, Marsh’s grand slam was the big blow in a third inning where the Braves pushed across the last nine runs of the game.

Several Braves had big games offensively in the rout. Tray Owens continued his strong year at the plate going 3-for-3 with two doubles and three runs scored. Dale Thornhill, Hayden McCosh, and Caden Raines each had two hits with Raines, McCosh, and Ike O’Neal each driving home two runs apiece. Raines also swiped a pair of bases.

On the hill, Thornhill started and earned his first win of the season after tossing three shutout innings and allowing just one hit and zero walks. Thornhill leads the team in ERA this season with just three earned runs allowed in his 17 innings of work including three starts.

Sophomore Aidan Boyd had one of his strongest outings of the season with two scoreless innings of relief work while giving up just one hit and one walk.

In the second game of the day, the Braves won another hard-fought battle with the Red Devils to earn a bit of redemption after the Devils downed the Braves 8-7 at Alford Field early in the season.

This time the Braves walked away with the 9-7 win in another close contest that was tied up at 7-7 going into the top of the sixth inning.

The Braves managed to push across the go-ahead run on a Chance Brown single that scored Drew Cornelius and Marsh scored on a passed ball in the top of the seventh to provide some much needed insurance.

Junior Brave Leroy Marsh hit his first career homer Saturday

Marsh earned the win with one inning of relief work after coming in for the game two starter Cornelius.

Tray Owens picked up the save with some strong relief work as he struck out three.

Owens also blasted his team-high fourth homer of the season, a 3-run shot in the top of the fourth inning that gave the Braves a 4-3 lead after they had been trailing 3-0 up to that point.

Owens is having a strong season at the plate and also leads the team in hitting at .432, hits with 16, doubles with three, and RBI’s with 14.

Thornhill and Brown also had nice multiple hit performances with two hits apiece. O’Neal drew two walks and scored both times while Jake Harrod had two steals. Harrod tops the squad in steals with seven while March has five.

Head coach Trent Bianco was pleased to see his team score a couple of nice wins heading into Region 5-AA play.

“That’s what we really wanted see especially today was us get some momentum going into this Monday versus Lamar,” said Bianco after the game. “Coach Spradlin said it best in that we felt like offensively one through nine we were getting some really good at bats from everybody and they were competing in the box.”

The head coach feels good about where his team is at at this point in the season.

“I feel like offensively we are starting to find our rhythm — pitching wise I feel like we are there too — and defensively I thought we played well. We’re starting to those little things we always harp and preach about and it’s good timing because we feel like we will get Lamar’s best shot this week,”Bianco said.

Bianco was also proud of his lead-off hitter for the big milestone grand slam.

“It was a hitter’s count and he just put a great swing on it. We want our guys to be aggressive with those counts and he was and that was great. I am so proud of him — Leroy is one of our hardest workers.”

The Braves (5-7, 0-0) will host the Lamar County Trojans (1-8, 0-0) in a special start time of 2:00 PM Monday at Alford Field.

The game was pushed up from the scheduled Tuesday time to try and avoid some possible rainfall in the forecast.

The Braves will travel to Barnesville Friday to close out the series with a doubleheader beginning at 4:30 PM.

The Brave are also scheduled to host the Pepperell Dragons at HCHS Wednesday at 5:30 PM in a make up from another game that was rained out earlier this season.

The Dragons (8-3) from Region 7-AA are coached by former Brave player Chad Brown who is in his first season as a varsity head coach.

For updates and information about Braves baseball visit Heard County Braves Baseball on Facebook.

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