Emily Collum tripled, homered and drove in three runs while teammate Loren Harris limited Cass to a pair of earned runs and four hits over six innings as the Adairsville Lady Tigers opened their 2017 campaign with a 9-4 victory at the Lady Colonels’ home field Monday night.
Harris (6IP, 3R, 2ER, 4H, 0BB, 2K), a University of North Georgia commit, limited the Cass bats most of the evening. She gave way to Victoria O’Neal (1 IP, 1R, 4 BB, 2K) in the seventh inning to finish off the night in the circle.
The Lady Tigers took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning off Cass starting pitcher Taylor Gibson.
PHOTO: Adairsville's Loren Harris pitches to Cass batter Sarah Moore.
Havyn Isaac reached on an infield miscue, Harris doubled, and Collum tripled for most of the Lady Tigers’ opening frame damage. Collum later scored on a wild pitch.
Both starting pitchers controlled the action in the second through fourth innings.
The Lady Colonels cut the lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the third on an RBI single by Sarah Fox that scored Haley Owens.
Adairsville then took control with six runs over their final three offensive frames.
The Lady Tigers scored twice in the fifth without a hit, taking advantage of three walks in the inning. They added another run in the sixth on an RBI single by Isaac and scored three more in the seventh on a pair of walks, Collum’s homer, a double by Sadye Johnson, and an RBI single by Courtney Jacobs.
Cass narrowed the Adairsville lead to 6-3 in the bottom of the sixth, but that would be as close as they would come.
Fox tripled in Alexia Najarro who had been hit by a pitch to make the score 6-2 and later scored on a single by Sarah Moore.
The Lady Colonels final run came in their final half inning at the benefit of four walks in the frame.
Collum finished with three RBIs and two extra base hits. Harris, Johnson, and Jacobs had one hit each with an RBI. Isaac and Chloe Sauders added the other Lady Tigers’ hits.
Fox drove in two runs with a pair of hits for the Lady Colonels. Taylor Gibson (RBI) and Mae Mae McIntyre had the other Cass hits. Moore had one RBI.
Gibson (6.1 IP, 9R, 7ER, 6H, 6BB, 5K) started in the circle for Cass and was tagged with the pitching loss. Macenzie Dougharty (0.2 IP, 1H, 1K) recorded the final two outs for the Lady Colonels.
“We looked good for a season opener,” reflected Adairsville head coach Amanda Nelson who picked up her first win as the Lady Tigers' head coach. “We put the ball in play, had some sacrifice bunts, and worked well as a team. I felt good about how we looked in our first game.”
Nelson was pleased with some of her team’s small ball efforts.
“We put down three sac bunts late in the game that ultimately produced a couple of runs,” she noted. “Sierra Tanner, Courtney Jacobs, and Tori Lee laid down those bunts. Makayla Tanner and Isaac stole bases.”
Nelson also appreciated the leadership of two of her seniors.
“Collum and Harris are good leaders,” added Nelson. “Collum is the quarterback out there from the catcher position and has that big bat in the four-spot. Harris was solid, hit her spots, and used her speed. They are leading the way.”
Adairsville (1-0) returns to the diamond Tuesday at Coahulla Creek for their Region 6AAA opener.
“Tonight was a great building block for the girls,” Nelson continued. “We hope to build off tonight’s game moving into region play.”
Cass coach Greg Hight also reflected on the game.
“We made a couple of mistakes in that first inning,” noted the Lady Colonels’ coach. “We didn’t cover the bag at first on that opening play and let the ball get away from us at the plate. They had a couple of big hits, but we could have escaped that inning with only one run if we take care of business.”
Hight also mentioned the positive play he saw in his team’s opening night loss.
“I was proud of the way we battled back,” added Hight. “Harris is a good pitcher and we hung in there pretty good against her.”
“Taylor Gibson did a good job. She really settled down and pitched well after that opening inning. We walked some people in the fifth inning and that almost always comes back to hurt. I probably should have taken her out of there a little earlier that I did,” the Lady Colonels’ coach continued.
“Maggie Collum made two great plays in right field. Sarah Fox swung the bat well, and Haley Owens did a good job in left field. In all, we sent four of our freshmen to the plate, two reached and they all had good plate appearances. We will learn from these mistakes tonight and be ready to play on Thursday.
Cass (0-1) will begin Region 7AAAAA play Thursday at home against Kell.