The Cass baseball team surged to a 9-0 lead against Paulding County on Friday, but, in a season where nothing has come easy, the Colonels had to fight to hold off a charge by the Patriots to earn a 15-12 win.
Despite Paulding County retiring two of the first three batters of the game, Cass (11-17, 5-10) jumped on top with seven runs in the first inning.
A double by Clay Means brought home Steven Spell, who had singled earlier in the inning. Senior Evan Hinton followed with a home run in the final home game of his career to give the Colonels a 3-0 lead.
A Blaine Ingram single and a pair of walks loaded the bases. A single by Bryson Markley brought home one run.
Matt Shook singled to center, scoring one, but an error on the play allowed two more runners to score for a healthy 7-0 advantage.
Another two-out rally in the second inning produced a couple more runs for the Colonels, as Parker Hardin doubled to score Means and Ingram.
The Patriots (7-18, 2-11) began their comeback attempt in the third inning. Five singles and a pair of errors led to four Paulding County runs.
Senior Steven Spell got a run back with a solo homer in the bottom of the third.
However, a three-run double and a two-run homer in the fourth inning pulled the Patriots within a run at 10-9.
Cass responded with three runs of its own in the home half of the inning. Pinch hitter Logan Nelson singled in a run and Shook doubled home two more.
Paulding County countered with a two-run fifth before tacking on a run in the sixth to again pull within one at 13-12.
The Colonels made sure the Patriots didn't spoil their final home game of the season, though.
Yet another two-out rally produced a pair of runs — one each on a Spell single and an error in the sixth.
Hinton earned the win on the mound despite allowing nine runs (five earned) on 11 hits. He did strike out four without issuing a walk.
Nelson gave up a pair of runs in his only inning of work, while Hardin landed the two-inning save.
Cass will look to close out the season with a third straight win when it travels to Paulding County for Game 2 on Monday.