“We’re going to give the ball to our starting quarterback, who will then engineer a two-minute drive that will result in our winning,” Williams said.
The “quarterback” Williams referred to was Brandon Etheridge, Cass’ starting quarterback and the starting pitcher in game two of the Colonels’ best-of-three series against the Knights.
Williams handed Etheridge the ball fully confident that his starting pitcher could help Cass even the series at 1-1 after being shut out, 3-0, in game one Tuesday.
“We just ran into a solid pitcher [Tuesday],” Williams said. “We also hit the ball hard, but it was always right at someone. But we’re playing at home tonight, where we have been most successful this season.”
With the way Etheridge pitched and his teammates played, the Colonels were most successful in their 7-0 victory at home over River Ridge Wednesday.
“Brandon is a competitor,” said Williams of his starting pitcher who gave up only one hit and struck out seven in six innings.
In contrast, the Colonels pounded out seven runs on 10 hits and played flawless defense in improving to 12-7 overall, 5-3 in Region 7A-AAAA.
No late inning heroics would be needed, as Dylan Williams’ two-run homer helped stake Cass to an early 3-0 first inning lead. It was 1-0 Colonels when Etheridge, who led off with a walk and advanced to third on two separate River Ridge errors, scored on another error on Sam Ayers’ grounder. Ayers was on second when Williams homered to left field with one out.
“Once we took that [first inning] lead I knew we would be in control the rest of the way,” coach Williams said.
That they were.
River Ridge’s only hit — a high, bouncing ball hit over Ayers’ head — came in the top of the fifth.
Cass was already up 4-0 in the second on Chaz Wilson’s two-out single that drove in Chris Morton. The Colonels put the game out of reach in the fourth when Etheridge, who scored the Colonels’ sixth run on another River Ridge error, doubled in Hunter Bennett, who led off the inning with a single. Sam Russell, who doubled to lead off the fifth, scored Cass’ final run on another River Ridge error.
Etheridge pitched through the sixth before turning the ball over to reliever Chris Hill, who retired the Knights in order in the top of the seventh inning.
Cass’ win tied the best-of-three series between the two teams at a game apiece. Game three will be played Friday at River Ridge.
“It’s another key game in which we need to play our type of baseball if we want to win, whether it’s on the road or at home,” Williams said. “We didn’t play our game Tuesday and lost. Tonight, we took the lead, played solid defense and got great pitching.”
With Wednesday’s victory, the second-place Colonels find themselves one full game ahead of the third-place Knights in Region 7A-AAAA heading into Friday’s showdown.