Runs were scored in all but one half-inning of a high-scoring softball game between Cass and St. Pius X to open Saturday play for the Colonels in the SCORE Invitational at Chattanooga.
Cass managed to score in every turn at bat, while St. Pius could “only” score in four of five innings in a 15-11 game, which lasted just five innings due to the tournament’s time limit.
The contest pretty accurately reflects the current reality for the Colonels. While the offense continues to shine, particularly the top five in the order, pitching remains a work in progress and forces Cass to usually need double-digit runs to win. Sometimes that’s not even enough.
It wouldn’t have been in this game if the Colonels hadn’t racked up 15 runs on 17 hits, because the Lions, who fell to 8-14, nearly matched them with 11 runs on 15 hits.
Cass, which is 10-11 after finishing 1-3 in the tournament, began the game with three straight singles. Eryn Lee’s scored Alexis Woods, and Rachael Lee’s scored Eryn Lee. But St. Pius mirrored the two-run inning with one of its own.
The Colonels went ahead for good in the decisive second inning, when they scored five runs and held the Lions scoreless. Woods singled home Kelly Young, who went 3-for-3 with three runs scored. Woods later scored on Rachael Lee’s sacrifice fly ahead of an RBI single by Ansley Hight, who went on to score Cass’ sixth run of the game. Kimberly Allen capped the outburst with a run-scoring double.
An error allowed Young to score with two outs in the top of the third, but St. Pius scored its own two-out run to pull within 8-3 in the bottom half.
Another five-run frame seemed to be enough for the Colonels to finally put the game away. Macenzie Dougharty opened the fifth inning floodgates with an RBI groundout. Defensive miscues gifted Cass its next three runs before Rachael Lee doubled home Woods, who finished 4-for-5 out of her leadoff spot.
The Lions, though, would not go away quietly. They answered with four runs apiece in the fourth and fifth innings.
Luckily for the Colonels, they managed a pair of key insurance runs in the top of the fifth. Woods’ single brought in Allen, and Madison Sheppard had an RBI groundout for a 15-7 lead.
While St. Pius put a scare into Cass in its final turn at bat, Dougharty struck a batter out looking to end the exhilarating game. Another thrilling contest could be in store on Tuesday, when the Colonels travel across Bartow County to face rival Woodland in Region 7-AAAAA action.
Calhoun 11, Cass 7
The last of Cass' four games in the tournament saw the Colonels chase the game from the opening inning but never quite manage to complete the comeback in an 11-7 loss to Calhoun.
A five-run top of the first inning put the Yellow Jackets in early control, and they managed to score three runs in the second, two in the third and one in the fourth to keep the Colonels from ever completely regaining momentum.
Alexis Woods got Cass going in the home half of the first, singling and scoring on a hit by Ansley Hight. Kelly Young, who had walked, made the score 5-2, when she scored on a fielder's choice.
An error in the second inning helped Cass cut into Calhoun's 8-2 advantage. Hight came through with a bases-loaded single. The hit scored one run with another coming home on a miscue by the outfielder.
The Jackets, though, had extended their lead to 11-5 before the Colonels could strike again. In the home half of the fourth, Rachael Lee scored on Kylee Hembree's single with Hight scampering home on an error.
Neither team ended up scoring in the fifth inning, allowing the Gordon County powerhouse to earn a four-run win.
Hight finished 3-for-3 with a run scored and two driven in. Saydee Najarro was 2-for-3. Woods and Young had one hit and one walk each with the latter also being hit by a pitch.
South Effingham 7, Cass 3
Cass opened and closed the scoring in Friday’s nightcap, but South Effingham scored seven unanswered runs in between to pick up a 7-3 victory.
Alexis Woods opened the game with a double for the Colonels, who were playing as the road team. Rachael Lee posted a one-out double, as Woods was thrown out at home. Lee, though, did score on an error for a 1-0 lead.
South Effingham, which evened its record at 10-10 with the victory, evened the game with a run of its own in the home half of the first. The Mustangs struck for two runs each in the second and third innings before pushing across three in the fourth.
Cass finally answered back in the top of the fifth. Kelly Young walked ahead of consecutive doubles by Woods and Eryn Lee. Young scored on the latter two-bagger to give the Colonels their second run of the game. A groundout by Ansley Hight allowed Woods to score, although Cass would get no closer in the game shortened by the tournament’s time limit.
Ironically, all four of Cass’ hits were doubles. The Mustangs, meanwhile, totaled seven hits and three walks in four innings.
Lovett 10, Cass 4
In Cass’ first game of the weekend, the Colonels picked up where they left off earlier in the week, when they racked up 29 combined runs in three Region 7-AAAAA games.
Cass jumped out with two runs in the first inning only to see Lovett eventually run away with a 10-4 win.
The Colonels put two runners on with one out in the opening frame, as Eryn Lee was hit by a pitch and Rachael Lee followed with a single. Kylee Hembree came through with a clutch two-run double to put Cass up 2-0.
Lovett, which improved to 7-5 with the win, managed to even the game with two runs of its own in the top of the third. Parity didn’t last long, though, as Cass answered back in the home half.
The two Lees led off the frame with back-to-back singles, and Hembree’s second double of the game plated courtesy runner Haylee Dishmon for the second time.
However, a two-run double and three-run triple boosted the Lions into a 7-3 lead in the top of the fourth. The Colonels managed a single tally in their next turn at bat, when Alexis Woods followed up a Kelly Young single with an RBI double.
Lovett extended its advantage with one run in the fifth and two more in the sixth en route to the six-run victory.
Hembree and Rachael Lee each finished 2-for-3 with the former racking up three RBIs. Eryn Lee wound up 1-for-2 with a run scored.
Wesleyan 6, Woodland 4
The Woodland softball team almost capped its stay in the SCORE Invitational in Chattanooga with a come-from-behind win over Wesleyan. However, the Wildcats couldn’t quite dig themselves out of a hole against the fifth-ranked team in the state.
The Wolves — who are also No. 5 in the country, per MaxPreps — remained undefeated on the season after hanging on for a 6-4 victory Saturday afternoon.
Wesleyan scored one run each in the first and third innings and two runs apiece in the fourth and fifth frames.
Woodland started to fight back from the 6-0 deficit with a single tally in the bottom of the fifth, as Bella Carnes singled home Brianna Hill to end the shutout. The Wildcats really made things interesting in the bottom of the sixth. Kailey Baker scored Morgan Cooper on a single, and Allyssa Motes followed with a two-run double.
That was as close as Woodland would get, despite outhitting Wesleyan by a 10-9 margin. Baker and Motes led the offensive showing with each finishing 2-for-3. Six other Wildcats had one hit apiece.
Woodland’s record sits at 9-10 after finishing 0-3 in the tournament, although it should be noted the Wildcats faced three teams inside the top 10 in the state and two considered top-five teams in the country. Next up for Woodland is a Monday road trip to Kell.
Ringgold 10, Woodland 4
Facing one of the hottest teams in Georgia, Woodland couldn’t quite hang with Ringgold in a 10-4 loss early Saturday morning.
The Tigers, who are ranked 10th in the state and 26th in the country by MaxPreps, entered the matchup on a nine-game winning streak. Most recently, Ringgold had shutout previously unbeaten Gordon Lee — the No. 2 team in the country — late Friday night.
Ringgold, which is now 15-3, scored one run in the first to take an early lead. Playing as the home team, Woodland evened the score in the second. The Wildcats benefitted from three straight walks to load the bases before an RBI groundout by Kailey Baker scored Kendyl Hardin.
A solo home run opened the top of the third inning, and the Tigers scored three more runs in the fourth for a 5-1 lead.
Woodland posted two runs of its own in the fourth, though, to remain within touching distance. Hardin scored on another grounder, and a wild pitch allowed Hannah Miller to cross the plate.
Any chance at a comeback was snuffed out, when Ringgold plated two more runs in the fifth and three in the sixth for a 10-3 lead. Woodland managed one run in the bottom of the seventh on Morgan Cooper’s sacrifice fly.
Hardin paced the Wildcats, finishing 1-for-1 with two walks and two runs scored. Bella Carnes ended up 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. Morgan Bailey had Woodland’s only other hit.
Gordon Lee 9, Woodland 0
Woodland seemed to be playing out a terrible case of deja vu throughout the week. For the third consecutive game, the Wildcats allowed exactly three runs in the first inning of an eventual loss.
The latest case came Friday night in Woodland’s opener in Chattanooga, where the Wildcats dropped a 9-0 decision to Gordon Lee, the No. 2 team in the state and the country, according to MaxPreps.
In Region 7-AAAAA losses to East Paulding and Carrollton, three-run doubles with two outs put Woodland in early holes. This time around, the Trojans scored one run on a passed ball and two on a single — all with no outs.
Following two scoreless innings, Gordon Lee, which remained unbeaten at 16-0 with the win, put the game away with a six-run outburst in the fourth. The Trojans used three singles and a double, while also benefitting from a walk and two errors.
Offensively, Woodland only managed one hit and one walk. Kailey Baker broke up the no-hitter in the fifth inning, while Brianna Hill coaxed a free pass in the second.
LaGrange sweeps Cartersville
Hosting LaGrange in a pivotal Region 5-AAAA doubleheader, Cartersville never could gets its offense going in dropping both games by identical 5-0 scores.
In the opener, the Grangers scored two runs apiece in the first and third innings before tacking on a solitary run in the sixth. The following game, LaGrange scored all five of its runs in the first inning before any out were recorded to ease to victory.
Campbell Rogers and Hope Short had the only hits for the Canes in the first game. McKinley Chada went 2-for-3 in the second contest. Rogers, Lauren McElhaney and Mikey Lewis had one hit apiece.
The losses dropped Cartersville to 10-11 overall and 5-6 in region play. The Canes are now fifth in the standings and finish out the region slate against Chapel Hill Tuesday at home.