CCHS baseball end season in tourney A

May 4—By Scott Wilson — Sports editor

With one of his youngest rosters in many years, head coach Joey Burnett watched his Cumberland County High School baseball team develop and grow with every game of the season.

There were ups and downs. There were mistakes made by rookie players. But there were also bright spots that bode well for the future of the program.

Unfortunately for Jet Nation, Cumberland County's season was brought to an end Friday with a 6-3 loss to DeKalb County in the second round of the District 7 Tournament. CCHS lost 11-0 to Stone Memorial in the first round.

"We didn't play very well against Stone Memorial in the first round of the tournament," said Burnett. "We came into the game a little too tight, a little too tense, and afraid to do what we needed to do. We didn't hit the ball very well, and we made a couple of routine mistakes. We let the game get away from us.

"As far as DeKalb goes, we came out with a sense of urgency. We played well, and I thought we pitched well. Our defense was good, but we made some miscues here and there, but our big problem was we left runners on base.

"We had two instances of runners on scond and third with less than two outs, and we had bases loaded with no outs and we just couldn't do anything with it. If we get a couple of hits here and there, we've got a chance to win the game."

Cumberland County ended the year at 6-20 on the season.

Stone Memorial jumped on top of Cumberland County right off the bat, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning. The Panthers added one run each in the second and third innings, before posting a six spot in the bottom of the fourth.

"I think our guys get a little nervous when we play Stone. They've got our number right now, but we tell our guys to kind of treat it just like any other game," Burnett said. "I think we press too much when we play them. We don't relax, and we try too hard, instead of staying routine and doing the little things that help you win games."

Eli Ostrander started for CCHS. He gave up 11 runs, only eight earned, on 10 hits. He walked three and struck out six.

Titus Bisbee got the start on the mound for Stone Memorial. He went four innings, allowing three hits, while walking one and striking out two. Parker Bisbee came on in relief with one inning of hitless baseball.

"We had a few hard hits against DeKalb County," Burnett said. "A couple of barrel shots were hit right at people. We just didn't come up with timely hits and that's been our thing all year.

"Getting hits with runners in scoring position has been our big issue. What we try to do is to do our best to get to six runs. That keeps you in almost every game you play, and it keeps pressure on the other team.

"But you can't go with runners on second and third base with less than two outs, and bases loaded with no outs the next inning and not do anything with it. In our final at bat, we had runners on second and third with one out, but we couldn't drive in any runs to put pressure on DeKalb County."

Kellen Burnett led the charge for CCHS with two hits in four trips to the plate. Other players with hits include Eli Ostrander, Ryder Myers, Isaiah Shelton, Jake Christopher and Lucas Poore.

Aaron Miniard got the start for CCHS. He went 3.1 innings, allowing six runs on six hits. He struck out three and walked one.

Cameron Caballero pitched for DCHS. He allowed three runs on eight hits, striking out eight and walking none.

"Leaving runners in scoring position, it has probably kept us from winning a lot of games we could have had a chance to do something with this year," coach Burnett said.

"Losing two of our seniors that were big in what we were doing is a huge loss going into next year.

"But we had a lot of young guys playing big roles for us this year. The experience they gained this year should give them a lot of confidence going into the offseason with workouts and conditioning.

Next year could be really good with what we have coming back."