The loss dropped the Colonels to 4-3 in their sub-region, good enough for third place with five subregion games remaining and still very much in control of their own fate as they pursue a state playoff bid.
Head coach Adam Williams was pleased the Colonels were able to fight their way back despite being down four runs late.
“These kids came out and competed,” Williams said. “They could easily have packed it up but they didn’t. They came out and fought hard and we had a big inning. We had nine hits. We hit the ball well.
“We came out and did what we’re supposed to do in that situation, be aggressive and try to take the lead. We had a close play at the plate but commend River Ridge for doing a good job, coming out and scoring and then answering back when we tied it up.”
The Knights struck first in their game as they used three hits — including a run-scoring double and single — to take a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. They added two runs in the second and surged out to a 4-0 lead.
Cass tried to answer in the bottom of the frame when Jordan Reed got aboard with a walk and Brett Gaddy was hit by a pitch. A single by Alex Yauslin put both in scoring position while loading the bases but the Cass threat was snuffed out by a strikeout that ended the inning.
Neither team scored the next two innings but the Colonels opened the bottom of the fifth inning with two doubles, the first by Yauslin and the second by Chris Morton that scored Yauslin. Caleb Black singled Morton to third and later moved to second when a base on balls was issued to Brandon Etheridge.
Bailey Campbell’s single sent Morton and Black home as the Colonels closed the gap to 4-3. Etheridge crossed the plate on a sacrifice by Reed that tied the game at 4-all, but the inning ended when Ben Kapito, a pinch runner, was called out trying to take home on Reed’s big blow, too.
The Knights answered by scoring three runs in the top of the sixth for a 7-4 lead.
The Colonels moved a runner into scoring position in the bottom of the seventh when Campbell got aboard via a hit by pitch and moved to second on a single by Reed to right field. A Colonel struck out to end the threat.
Williams said the Colonels played well even though they didn’t get the result they were after.
“We need kids like Alex Yauslin, who had a couple of hits tonight, Chris Morton, who had a couple, and our freshman, Bailey Campbell, to keep hitting the ball,” Williams said. “These kids just need to keep coming to the plate with the same approach and keep playing and playing hard.”
He said Cass pitching is close.
“Chris Hill gave up that one hit but he was doing a good job. He came in and did what we needed him to do to get us to Brandon,” Williams added. “We have to shut the door. We needed them to put up a zero after we came back and tied it up.”
Hill took the loss for the Colonels, who gave up seven runs on 14 hits.
He said the Colonels are still positioned to make some noise at playoff time.
“We are playing for a region championship but we know what we have to do to be able to cross over and play for a state playoff spot,” he said. “That’s still a very realistic possibility for Cass right now. We’re playing for a state playoff spot and that’s what we’re looking for.”
Cass plays River Ridge twice more this week, on the road Thursday and then at home Friday. The Colonels then play Cedartown three times, twice at home and once on the road, the following week.
Game times are 5:55 p.m.