The common denominator was pitching for Newnan and East Coweta baseball lineups in Tuesday’s Region 2-7A openers.
And the result was a pair of shutouts, though, the Cougars equally faced some competition on the mound in a trip to Campbell.
While the Indians found little pushback in a 15-0 victory over Pebblebrook where it drew 15 walks in a six-inning mercy rule decision, Newnan made the most of a first-inning rally at Campbell in a 3-0 win in Smyrna.
Juniors Jaxon O’Neal and Anthony Darrow combined on 13 strikeouts while Spartans ace Mitchell Braswell kept the host Spartans in a complete-game effort, striking out 11 and holding Newnan scoreless in his final six innings of work.
“It’s always good to get a region win. O’Neal and Darrow put us on their back,” Cougars head coach Marc Gilmore said after his team improved to 5-2 and 1-0 to open the 2-7A schedule. “[Braswell] was really tough. He threw four pitches that were high quality and mixed it up.”
Newnan made the most of consecutive hits from seniors Will Wilbanks, Josh Perry and Jacob Blair in the first, each staying hot from a previous come- back win over Central- Carroll on Friday. Perry and Blair drove in the Cougars’ opening two runs before the third scored on an error at first.
From there, Braswell settled in to retire his next 13 batters, while allowing two baserunners the rest of the way. They included a one-out triple by senior Lucas Mapp in the sev- enth before the Campbell starter got out of the jam.
Equally, though, O’Neal and Darrow were steady while combining on a three-hit shutout with a combined 13 strikeouts and just one walk.
The Spartans man- aged just one baserunner over the first five innings and put together its best attempt to score in the sixth with a walk and a double to put runners on second and third with one out.
Bur reliever Liam West retired his final five batters in order to end the game.
East Coweta, meanwhile, stayed patient with its swings against Pebblebrook, letting 15 free passes do the brunt of the work.
Tony Player connected for a leadoff single and the Indians added an RBI single from Bailey Psathas in the third while otherwise taking advantage of two errors, five errors and the dozen-plus walks to plate 15 runs in six innings.
The brunt came with an eight-run third that began with four walks and a hit batsman. East Coweta added six runs in the sixth in a rally that began with five more walks and another hit-by-pitch.
Both teams have non-region games before facing the same region opponents again on Friday, with Newnan again traveling to Campbell in order to get a home date late in the year for Senior Night.