Cass, Adairsville play first round
by Jason Greenberg
Oct 06, 2013 | 839 views | 0 0 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It was a warm, sunny Saturday, making it a nice day to go to the beach or have a picnic. However, it was a bad day to be a softball player facing a midday doubleheader with the season on the line in the region playoffs.

Such was the case for Cass as the team split games at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Heritage Point Saturday to stay alive in the Region 7A-AAAA tournament.

The Lady Colonels defeated LaFayette 2-1, but lost to River Ridge 5-1 after giving up three runs in the 13th inning they played in the midday heat.

“We played real well, but I think the heat beat us late there,” Cass coach Greg Hight said. “It was a two-run game late and we just kind of got run down.”

Senior Courtney Bailey pitched all 13 innings and threw a gem against LaFayette, giving up no earned runs and just three hits while striking out 12.

“She threw real well. I most definitely think that she got tired at the end there,” Hight said. “It was hot. We played in the middle of the day.”

Senior catcher Bre Mahrt had two hits and an RBI in her three at bats. Junior Lynnsey Hollifield had an RBI single in the fifth inning to give her team the lead.

In the second game against River Ridge, who only played one game Saturday, broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning with two runs and three more in the sixth.

Hollifield and Lauren Womack each had two hits, including a double. Senior Kelsey Holloway also had two hits, while Bailey drove in Cass’ run on a double. Cass actually outhit its opponent in the contest.

“We made a few baserunning mistakes in the River Ridge game, early, that might have cost us a run or two,” Hight said. “It could have been a huge difference in the game.”

The Lady Colonels are still in the tournament, but are now one game away from elimination. They will play again on Monday at 5 p.m. against Gilmer. If they win, they will still have to win two more games to qualify for the state tournament.

Still, Hight is confident his team can accomplish that goal.

“They’re playing real well right now and they know that. If Courtney is throwing like that and we’re playing defense behind her, we’re hard to beat,” he said. “Just to get in the state tournament is the big thing. You get in and you control your own destiny.

“We still have a tough road, but we’re going to be competitive with anybody we play.”

Adairsville drops first tournament game

The Lady Tigers probably will not win their region tournament or make the state playoffs, but with a young and talented squad, every bit of big game experience can help down the road.

Adairsville got a taste of what playoff softball was like Saturday at Hamilton Crossing as the team dropped a 9-1 decision in six innings to North Murray and are now one game from elimination in the Region 5-AAA tournament.

“We did some good things and some bad things,” Adairsville head coach Kandace Bruno said of her team’s performance. “It’s always good to get experience in any game situation, but especially in a playoff situation. For the future, with such a young team, we’ll have that under our belt and, hopefully, the nerves won’t bother them as much then.”

Dealing with inexperience has been something the team has dealt with all season. However, dealing with injuries is something the team was faced with Saturday with third baseman Morgan Creel and second baseman Taylor Gibbs out of the lineup.

“We have a lot of injuries we’re dealing with and some girls where they’re not supposed to be and they haven’t been in the past,” Bruno said. “We’re having to put people where they haven’t been all season long and they kind of showed it today with the errors.

“The girls are working hard and doing what they can and be thrown into a situation that you’re not used to.”

With Creel and Gibbs out, Bruno was forced to shuffle the lineup and put players at uncomfortable positions. This would come back to haunt the Tigers as all three errors they made, resulting in three unearned runs, were made by someone playing out of position.

“At this time in the season, you just have to play through it,” Bruno said.

North Murray scored three runs in each of the first two innings to take a commanding early lead.

Adairsville would make a small dent into the lead in the fifth when freshman Macy Hufstetler doubled into the right-center field gap. She came around to score on a North Murray error later in the inning.

However, North Murray responded with three more runs in the next two innings to end the game.

Adairsville has a young team and has yet to win a region game this season. Many of their players are experiencing their first region tournament games.

“Nerves are always something you deal with with the young ones and they’re excited to be here,” Bruno said. “We’re just asking them to do the best they can and get better, so we’ll see what happens.”

The Lady Tigers play again on Monday in a 7 p.m. game at Hamilton Crossing.

“It’s do or die, but we don’t talk about it because it should be do or die every time,” Bruno said. “You always want to win. It’s not any different than what we’ve done all season. We go out to win every game and I ask them to get

better.”