BY Chris Goltermann
Newnan head baseball coach Marc Gilmore knew heading into 2019 that he’d have some ample talent back among starting pitchers this spring led three seniors.
But he was just as excited about the potential of another senior arm that has a chance to factor even bigger into the Cougars’ success.
Used mostly in relief efforts so far this spring, senior Lyle Johnston showed he could handle a starting job for Newnan, pitching six shutout innings in a 5-3 non-region victory at Central-Carroll.
It provided a different form of relief for Gilmore, who used all three of his senior starters in a 13-inning victory over Wheeler on the road Tuesday in Region 2-7A play.
Johnston kept a scoreless game going until Newnan broke through with three runs in the top of the fifth. The Cougars then padded the lead with two key insurance runs in the top of the seventh before holding off the Lions in their final at-bat.
Senior third-baseman Everett Davis, who connected on a double to begin Tuesday’s winning rally at Wheeler, added another two bagger against Central and senior Woody Waters and junior Austin Roberts pulled off consecutive squeeze plays that plated runs in the victory.
The win improved Newnan’s overall record to 11-4, while getting ready to face Wheeler again on Friday, this time at Joe Pope Field.
The Cougars remain undefeated in region play at 5-0 and have won 20 consecutive games against 2-7A opponents.
TRINITY’S RIESSELMANN TO UNDERGO SURGERY AFTER BEING STRUCK IN FACE: Trinity Christian was already having a rough outing during Paideia’s comeback victory against the Lions on Tuesday when the team was dealt another traumatic blow in the seventh inning.
Senior Kyle Riesselmann will require surgery after being struck in the face with a pitch in the final inning of the 12-10 loss. Head coach Blake Austin confirmed that Riesselmann will require surgery after breaking multiple facial bones.
The Lions are hoping to have Riesselmann possibly for the Class A-Private state playoffs. In the meantime, Austin said he’s taken the initiative with newly purchased helmets that included the familiar ‘C-flap’ used in the major leagues. Mike Trout, Giancarlo Stanton and Bryce Harper are among players that added the face guard to helmets during the 2018 season.
Riesselmann was off to an outstanding senior year after earning All-County GISA Co-Player of the Year honors last spring with Trinity teammate Cal Smith.
The Georgia State signee had hit safely in all seven games this season for the Lions, batting 11-for-23 (.478).
He came into 2019 with one of the state’s highest averages from last year at .534 behind only Smith while the duo helped lead Trinity to a GISA Class AAA state title.
Riesselmann has been just as impressive on the mound this spring, pitching eight scoreless innings over four appearances with 18 strikeouts.