April 23, 2021

Braves sweep Class AA ‘Diamond Day’ at Pepperell

(Lindale, GA) — The Heard County Braves baseball team continued an early season surge with two quality Class AA wins at the Pepperell High School ‘Diamond Day’ in Lindale, GA Saturday afternoon.

The Braves scored a 2-1 win over the Union County Panthers from Region 8-AA in game one and competed the sweep with a 10-4 win over the hosts Pepperell from Region 8-AA in game two.

Aidan Boyd was the star of game one for the Braves with a complete game pitching effort to earn his first varsity win. Boyd was impressive in a pitcher’s duel allowing just one earned run and four base hits to the Panthers while striking out four and walking just two batters.

With two starts under his belt this season, Boyd sports an ERA of just 2.92 and the junior Brave hurler is averaging about one strikeout per inning pitched.

The Braves played solid defense behind Boyd with just a single error and despite tallying just three hits, the offense managed to push two runs across the plate to secure the win.

Head coach Trent Bianco was excited for the very strong outing from Boyd.

“Aidan Boyd was absolutely fantastic in game one — that’s a compete game while throwing just 80 pitches and that’s about as efficient as you can be,” said Bianco.

“Defensively, we were also very good. We’ve been preaching to our guys that if we can be good defensively then our pitchers can just throw some strikes. If we can be good enough defensively, that always gives us a chance to be in games.”

In the game two 10-4 win over Pepperell, the Braves exploded for 10 runs — the largest output of the season through the first seven games.

On the mound, it was senior Drew Cornelius settling down after the first inning to also record his first win as a varsity pitcher. Cornelius went four innings in his third start of the season allowing three earned runs while giving up five hits and striking out three Dragon hitters.

Junior Noah Cantrell came on in the fifth inning and was excellent in three innings of work to close out the win. Cantrell gave up just one earned and three hits while fanning three.

“Drew was very good after the first inning,” Bianco said after the game. “He did a much better job in terms of coming back and pounding the zone. Noah is a strike thrower and we are good enough defensively to make routine plays behind him so that we can be successful.”

The senior tandem of Cornelius and Leroy Marsh continued to pace the offense with each recording a pair of hits in game two and three hits on the day.

Junior Bo Langley had a double to drive one home in the game and three sport athlete Isaiah O’Neal also had an RBI as he returned to the outfield for the Braves after basketball season.

Marsh, O’Neal, and shortstop Chance Brown each scored tow runs while John Paul Awbrey also recorded an RBI base hit.

Bianco like what he saw from his hitters in game two.

“That was the best we’ve looked all year offensively,” said Bianco. “It was just quality at-bat after quality at-bat we were able to battle with two strikes and were able to find our way on base. Today’s doubleheader was a great measuring stick of where we are and I’m excited to come out here today and get two wins.”

The Braves head coach will get another chance to measure his team this week with four more quality match-ups including two more Class AA opponents.

The Braves (5-2) will host Central of Carrollton Monday (5:30 PM) and Bowdon Wednesday (5:30 PM) at Heard High before hitting the road to South Georgia this weekend to face Jeff Davis (6:00 PM Friday) and Vidalia (12:00 PM Saturday).  Jeff Davis is the defending Class AA State Champion from 2019.

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