Small-ball lesson big deal for Colonels
by David Royal
May 07, 2013 | 1047 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Adam Williams believes there could be a silver lining in Cass High’s loss to River Ridge in the three-game series the two teams played in early April.

That’s because Williams thinks the Colonels got something of a preview in that series for Troup County, who they meet Wednesday in the Sweet 16 round of the state high school baseball playoffs.

The Colonels, who for the first time ever will be hosting a second-round state playoff game, will entertain the Tigers at 5:30 p.m. at the Cass baseball stadium in their best-of-three series. The two teams meet a second time immediately after the first game is completed with the third game, if necessary, played Thursday at 1 p.m.

Coach Williams said scouting reports suggest his Colonels may experience something like deja vu at game time.

“I think we’ll see a lot of small ball,” Williams said. “They will be aggressive on the base paths. They are quick and have some trick plays.

“This will be a tough game where we have to keep our minds in the game and not make mental mistakes.”

Williams said the Troup pitching will challenge the Colonels but Cass High’s success depends on how the players respond to the game conditions.

“The scouting report says their pitching is very competitive but nothing that should overwhelm you,” he said. “They play small ball baseball and try to create havoc.”

He said it’s important for Cass to recall what it learned in the team’s loss to River Ridge.

River Ridge defeated Cass 3-0 and 4-3 April 9 and 12, sandwiched around a 7-0 victory by the Colonels on April 10.

“They say you learn more from your losses than your wins,” Williams said. “We didn’t win that series and now we need to come back and learn from it and be better this week.”

The Colonels won’t just be concerned about what Troup County does.

Williams said Cass must play to its strengths and use that facet of its game to its full potential.

“With our pitching, we have to go in and throw strikes and get ahead,” Williams said.

Williams said the Colonels also must use the intangibles that are part of being a Colonel.

“We have a tough competitive spirit,” he said. “Our kids will fight you tooth and nail, and that’s what we have to have to advance in the playoffs.”

This group of Colonels is blessed with talented ballplayers who also are leaders.

“We count on players like Dylan Williams, Sam Ayers, Brandon Etheridge, Chaz Wilson and Sam Russell,” the coach said. “They all make plays for us and they all lead for us.”

He said the Colonels are in good physical shape this late in the season.

“We have a great trainer, Diana Bell, and she does a great job of keeping our kids healthy. We’re in great shape.”

He said Cass must keep working to play its best ball of the year right now.

“We have to work on hitting, competing with two strikes and scoring runs,” he added. “We have to do the little things to help us win baseball games.”

Williams said the team has zeroed in on Troup County, putting its big victory over Columbia Friday behind it.

“We are focusing on what’s in front of us, not the past,” he said. “We need a good practice today and then we’ll play Troup on Wednesday.”

Cass, the No. 2 seed out of Region 7, advanced to the Sweet 16 round by defeating Columbia, which was the No. 3 seed out of Region 6-AAAA, 4-2 and 5-1.

Cass is hosting Troup County (17-11, 10-4), the No. 4 seed from Region 5-AAAA.

Cass is 18-10 overall with an 8-4 record in Region 7A-AAAA).

The Colonels recorded three shutouts on the season and allowed just one run in five of their games.

The Colonels were their subregion’s best statistical team offensively and defensively, averaging a total of six runs per contest while surrendering just three runs per outing.

Troup defeated No. 1 seed Eastside, 11-7, 12-2.

The Tigers scored an average of four runs per game while letting three runners cross home plate.

They shut out four opponents during the year.

Both teams played Adairsville with Troup defeating them 1-0 on April 27 while Cass finished on top March 12 and 14 by scores of 10-0 and 9-6.

The winner of the Cass vs. Troup game will play the winner of the Dutchtown-Veterans contest.