However, in the end, it was a big second inning for the Dragons that allowed them to jump out to an early lead, one they would hold on to to win by a score of 7-2.
“We got a group of kids who are a little inexperienced and we have to play games like this and be put in situations like that and make us better,” Cass head coach Adam Williams said. “It’s not what we wanted, but I still believe in these guys. I still think there’s hope. I still think we can make playoffs. I still think we have a good shot. We just have to keep playing and keep believing.”
Cass threatened in the first inning, loading the bases with two outs. However, the Colonels could not push the runner across, something Pepperell had no trouble with the next inning.
The Dragons scored five runs in the second off three hits, two walks and a hit batsman.
Pepperell was able to work deep into the count in several at bats, something Williams felt helped spark a rally.
“If you show guys a lot of pitches, they can get their timing down,” he said after the game. “We have to work ahead of batters. We’re going to come back tomorrow in practice and work on that.”
Pepperell decided to start its ace against Cass and sophomore Zach Williams held the Colonels scoreless through three innings.
“That kid, Zach Williams, who threw for them, he’s a doggone good pitcher,” Adam Williams said. “We need to see arms like that because, in region play, we’re going to see a lot of that.”
Cass was able to break through against Williams in the fourth inning when Jesse Simpson led off the inning with a single. Williams then began to get wild and hit three of the next four batters to score Simpson and put Cass on the board. The Colonels would score another run on a fielder’s choice groundout, cutting the lead to 5-2 after four innings.
From there, Pepperell would only extend the lead, scoring another run in the fifth and another in the seventh. The run in the seventh came after two errors allowed Pepperell base runners to reach first and third base with one out. Pepperell then sent the runner on first to second, forcing a throw. Cass caught the runner in a pickle, but Pepperell’s runner on third base was able to come home.
“[Pepperell] executed it well. You just tip your hat to them. They did a good job with it,” Williams said of the play. “Of course, we work on that. It’s a situation where the kids have to execute. We have a freshman first baseman, and they just picked on him in that situation. He’s just got to get used to playing varsity ball.”
That play, a run scored on a balk and four errors put Cass in a hole it could not get out of.
The Colonels could not produce enough offense, but did get some good pitching performances in relief from Bradley Hood and Chris Hill. Hood pitched two scoreless innings, while Hill pitched 2 2/3 innings in relief without allowing an earned run. He also stranded base runners on second and third when he came in on relief in the fifth inning with just one out. “I thought Bradley Hood did a great job in relief. I thought Chris Hill did a great job in relief,” Williams said. “Those kids have thrown before. They had a couple of varsity innings last year, so they’ve been in the fight before. We just have to get everybody there.”
Hunter Southern had a strong game, tallying two hits, including a seventh-inning double. Simpson also had a good day at the plate for the Colonels, going 2-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base.
Cass will look to bounce back in the team’s next game against Adairsville Monday at home at 5:30 p.m. “We can’t hold our head down. We’re going to come back tomorrow and work on things,” Williams said. “The sun’s going to come out tomorrow and we can’t get too down.”