The Wolverines did go through some adversity when juniors Gaines Lahue and Kevin Bray collided in the outfield and have missed the last five games. Lahue is recovering from a broken jaw and Bray has a concussion.
But lately, freshmen Jake Depiero, Alex Watkins, Mitchell Golden and Spencer Palladino have stepped up along with sophomores James Pittinger and Zach Mudge.
The Wolverines last two losses to North Cobb Christian and Holy Innocents have been by one run. They would get behind early before attempting a late inning rallies that came up short. Against NCCS, Walker gave up five runs in the fifth before getting four back in the seventh and having to settle for a 9-8 loss.
But they’ve also won some one-run battle including region wins over Kings Ridge and Whitefield. Mudge ended up recording the save against the Wolfpack.
Tale of two parts: Walton started off the season hitting the cover off the ball. Now pitching seems to be helping the Raiders more so than the offense the last five games.
Early in the year, Walton (9-3) won four straight games over Alpharetta, St. Petersburg (Fla.), Fayette County and Pope in less than seven innings, scoring more than 10 runs against each opponent.
The Raiders would later win three straight games over Kell, North Paulding and Harrison, but afterward, the bats went quiet. They’ve had back-to-back 4-3 losses to Hillgrove and Lovett, and beat north Gwinnett 3-2.
“I haven’t been able to put a finger on it,” Walton coach Shane Amos said.
Henry Rowling and Stephen Wrenn are batting .517 and .500, respectively. Rowling is tied with Pope’s Nathaniel Lowe for the Cobb County lead with 14 RBIs.
On the mound, Daniel Parker has a 0.78 ERA for Walton and Bradley Schwarz is at 1.17.
New arms for Allatoona: After making it to the Class AAA state quarterfinals last season, Allatoona was concerned about losing all three of its starting pitchers — Clate Schmidt (Clemson), Lucas Brown and Michael Royal — while having to jump up two classifications to AAAAA.
The Buccaneers (8-2, 3-1 in 5AAAAA) aren’t so concerned about that anymore.
T.J. Watson is maintaining a 0.68 ERA and already recorded a perfect game March 6, a 15-0 five-inning win over Campbell. Ian McCloskey has a 1.91 ERA and Clarke Schmidt, who verbally committed to South Carolina, has a 1.24. Freshman Grayson Harbin has made a few starts this season, one of which was a no-hitter in a 10-0 win over New Manchester.
Hard slugging Pope still has questions: Pope has one of the better hitting teams in recent years. Lowe is hitting .591, John Flading is at .500 and Wes Smith is averaging .450
But the Greyhounds (5-5, 4-2) are still trying to sort things out on the pitching staff. They’ve given up 13 runs in their loss to Riverwood, eight in their loss to Creekview and nine in their loss to Dunwoody.
Although Patrick Wiseman has 17 strikeouts for Pope, there’s not a pitcher that’s below 2.90.
“We’re still trying to get things figured out there,” Pope coach Jeff Rowland said. “We have guys throwing well but we’re still looking for other guys to step up.”