The Sandy Creek Patriots couldn’t pull out the win they wanted against the Cedartown Bulldogs Friday night, but it was another promising performance in a season of progress. Though they fell to the Bulldogs 7-6, they’ve already ensured they will finish with a winning record for the first time since 2010 and their most wins since at least 2009.
“Where this program was when me and the coaching staff began working with these guys last summer it’s hard for us to really complain,” said Coach TC Boyd. “We are definitely more proud of the guys than we are disappointed.”
While SCHS alum Andrew Toles toils with MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers, the current Patriots are building their own legacy.
“I was taught if you ever want anything in life you’ve got to work your tail off to get it. Not only is that true in the game of baseball but in life as well,” said Boyd. “We have worked these kids extremely hard this year. It started in the summer with lifting three days a week and then in the fall we had 40 workouts that started before school at 6:15 a.m. At times the kids didn’t like me, but I think they can all agree it definitely didn’t hurt us at the end of it all.”
Playing in an brutally tough region that features four of the top ten teams in 4A, the Patriots have more than held their own. They want to carve out their own spot among the elite programs.
“This region is one of the best in the state hands down. Every game you had to bring it no matter the opponent,” said Boyd. “We enjoyed the heck out of it because its been good competitive baseball all year, even though at times it made you want to pull your hair out. Cartersville, Troup, and Lagrange all have a history of excellence in baseball, and baseball is super important to those schools and communities. Hopefully Sandy Creek can build off the season we had this year.”
On Friday night, they took number three ranked Cedartown to the limit. The Bulldogs plated one unearned run in the top of the first, but the Patriots responded with a run of their own in the bottom half, Parker Mallett smashing a RBI double to drive home Demetrius Worthy.
The bottom half of the second was full of fireworks. Leading off the inning, Ira Clifton fouled a pitched back into the lights, shattering one and sending glass raining down on the crowd. The Patriot faithful were safe but there was damage to be done to the Bulldogs. TJ Peavy and Connor Housley singled to set the table, and Marquis Grissom and Thomas Farr each drove one home to grab a 3-1 lead.
Cedartown took advantage of a pair of miscues in the fourth to tie the score. It could have gotten worse, but Farr bounced back with a strikeout, and Clifton threw out a would-be stealer to end the inning.
The Patriots grabbed another lead in the fifth via small ball, Farr singling and Markell Graham and Worthy bunting him over to third. Mallett sent him home with a single.
Miscues proved costly again in the top of the fifth as the Bulldogs built off a hit batter and error to set the table for a two-out, 3-run triple to grab a 6-4 lead. They plated one more in the seventh to put the Patriots’ backs firmly against the wall.
Sandy Creek came out swinging with just three outs to play. Farr singled and scored on a Worthy triple, and Mallet drove in one more, but they would run out of outs and fall 7-6. Farr also went the distance on the mound.