No. 12 Hawks' nonstop offense powers the win over No. 11 Etowah

By Kyle Colletta
Georgia Staff

Powder Springs, GA – Two GA Power 25 teams squared off in a non-region contest Thursday night, No. 11-ranked Etowah (15-8) and No. 12 Hillgrove (20-4). The Eagles were fresh off a win over No. 3 Loganville, courtesy of three home runs, helping bolster what’s already an impressive resume of wins this spring.

For Hillgrove, they used the morning to extend their win streak to 10 games in a victory over No. 14 Milton. So, two teams riding quality wins earlier in the day were about to put all of their GA Power 25 momentum on the line in a meeting against one another.

In this match-up, it was the Hawks of Hillgrove that used timely hitting and capitalized on defensive miscues to come away with a 12-5 win against a gritty Etowah team, who have been giant-slayers all season.

Etowah struck first in the top of the first when lead-off hitter, sophomore Cole Ellis, started the frame with a walk, followed by an errant pickoff attempt at first. With one out, senior Conor Bowen delivered an opposite field RBI single to get the Eagles on the board.

Hillgrove answered right away in the bottom of the inning when starting pitcher Deion Walker (2019; Chattahoochee Valley) knocked in Ethan Wright (Flagler College) on an opposite field single to help himself get that run back.

In the bottom of the second, Hillgrove added two more runs, ignited by junior Trace Cate, who led the inning off with a double. A sac fly by Cameron Fiveash and another RBI single by Wright gave the Hawks a 3-1 lead heading into the third inning.

Again, the relentless Etowah answered. Senior Walters State commit Nick Block pulled Etowah within one in the third on his run-scoring base hit.

Hillgrove, however, was the team applying nonstop pressure on the basepaths all game long. Cate helped the Hawks again with the bat, this time in the form of a two-run single to push his team’s lead to 5-2. In the next inning, Mason Curtis (2019; Georgia Highlands JC) tacked on another RBI single, and a two-run double off the bat of Walker brought home another pair of runs in the fifth, handing Hillgrove a 10-4 lead late. Another two runs in the sixth ensured that the Hawks had scored in each of their half-innings at the plate on Thursday.

After reinforcing his team’s lead from the batter’s box, Curtis took to the mound to close out the last two innings in relief. The Georgia Highlands-bound southpaw struck out the side in the sixth, primarily utilizing a fastball that was up to 85 mph, supplemented by a tight 12/6 curveball. He pitched over a little trouble in the seventh to seal the 12-5 win for Hillgrove, and what’s bound to be an enormous week for their standing on the GA Power 25.

For Etowah, they’ve lost three of their last five – though, all five contests have come against ranked opponents, and they had just bested a supremely talented Red Devils team earlier in the day. They’ll rest up for next week’s three-game series with Roswell.

Hillgrove Highlights:

+ Ethan Wright: 4-for-5, 3 R, 2 RBI
+ Deion Walker: 3-for-5, 2B, 3 RBI
+ Mason Curtis: 3-for-4, RBI
+ Trace Cate: 2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI

Etowah Highlights:

+ Cole Ellis: 2-for-4, 2 R
+ Conor Bowen: 2-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI
+ Nick Block: 2-for-3RBI