Honored before the game, the Cass seniors put the team on their backs for seven innings as they led the Colonels to a 12-4 win over Paulding County on senior night Monday.
Tyler Hendon and Bailey Campbell each hit home runs, Jake Collum had four hits and Brett Gaddy, Garrett Brookshire and Evan Collins all scored at least once.
On the pitching side, Collum and the last senior, Austin Pruett, combined to strike out seven and give up just three earned runs over seven innings.
“I love these kids,” Cass coach Adam Williams said. “This group of seniors has been here for four years and they’ve bought in. They’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do. They come to practice in the cold and the rain and the wet ... and they’ve come and played hard for four years.”
The win evened Cass’ record at 15-15 for the season and 8-8 in Region 7-AAAAA.
With their regular season completed, that 8-8 record leaves the Colonels hoping for losses from Villa Rica and fellow Bartow County team Woodland if they’re to make the playoffs.
“Hopefully good things are happening for us,” Williams said. “You’ve just got to be patient. We’ll just see what the plan is for us and hopefully that plan includes some play-in games.”
They made sure to handle everything they could on Monday, breaking a scoreless tie with an eight-run third.
Collum singled home Gaddy and, with two outs, Hendon lofted a three-run homer just inside the left-field foul pole. Singles by Evan Hinton and Nathan Smith and a walk to Gaddy loaded the bases again, and Gavin Young walked and Clay Means was hit by a pitch to score two more runs.
Campbell, up for the second time in the inning, capped the scoring with a two-run double to right to make it 8-0 before Collum flied out to center.
“To go out and have 11 hits, everybody contributed, it was a great way to end the season,” Williams said. “These kids are going to compete regardless of who they’re playing.”
Those eight runs would prove to be the final margin as the Colonels and Patriots traded scores over the last four innings.
Paulding put up a picket fence, scoring one run in each of the last four innings off Collum and Pruett, who pitched the last three innings.
Cass, for its part, kept up the run-scoring as well.
Hendon doubled with one out in the fourth and scored on a passed ball with two outs.
Campbell provided the highlight in the fifth, mashing a homer to left-center and celebrating by flipping his bat towards the Cass dugout.
Collins scored later in the inning on a wild pitch and, after Paulding scored their run in the top of the sixth, the Colonels scored their 12th run in the bottom of the inning as Gaddy was hit by a pitch, moved to third as Brookshire reached on an error and scored on Campbell’s sac fly to center.
Pruett closed out the game in the seventh and the Colonels, having done all they could, will now be settling in to hope for the results they need.
Collum was 4-for-5 with a double, while Campbell drove in four and scored two to go with his two hits. Hendon also had two hits, drove in three and scored twice, as did Gaddy.
“These kids have given a lot to this program, and I’m grateful for them,” Williams said.