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Woodland cuts down Lady Colonels

BY SCOTT POWER
Woodland clinched third place in the Region 7-5A softball standings with a 14-1 win in four innings over visiting Cass on Tuesday, Oct. 11.

The Lady Wildcats hammered the ball at the plate with 16 hits, scoring eight runs in the first inning and six more in the the third. In what has been an up and down season, Woodland finished the regular season on a positive note.

“It’s about time,” Woodland Coach Todd Eubanks said of his team’s offensive explosion. “That’s been the story of our season, one day we play like this and the next night we don’t. But this was the best we’ve played as team this year. We hit the ball really well tonight and we were solid defensively.”

Making the win even more special for Woodland was that it happened on Senior Night with the Lady Wildcats recognizing Cambrie Carrington and her family before the game.

“Cambrie has been an integral part of the team from the first time she stepped on the field,” Eubanks said. “In her four years she’s been part of 80 victories, a Sweet 16, an Elite 8 and a Final 4 — and this year is yet to be determined.”

Cambrie said she has enjoyed being part of the team and will be sad to walk off the field for the last time.

“I’m proud of all the girls,” Carrington said. “I will be sorry to leave my friends, it will be hard to let go of this team. But I will come to the games and support them.”

It was not as happy a night for Cass as the Lady Colonels dug themselves into too big of a hole early in the game. They had the bases loaded in the top of the first, but couldn’t score. Woodland then pushed across eight runs in the bottom of the first.

Woodland hit Cass’ pitching really well, but three Cass errors didn’t help.

“We can’t give up eight runs in the first inning,” Cass Coach Taylor Washington said. “We have to stay away from the big innings.”

Cass threatened in the top of the first inning as Ansley Hight walked, Alexis Woods reached on an error and two outs later Reese Howard was intentionally walked to load the bases. A groundout ended the inning, however.

Woodland also got runners on base in the bottom of the first, but were able to get eight of them home.

Jordan Hammonds led off the inning with a triple to center field and then scored on a single by Peyton Dorn. Kamryn Smith doubled and, one out later, scored on a hit by Mackenzie Araya. Elizabeth Hartsfield then reached on an error to bring home Smith and make it 3-0.

Woodland pitcher Haley Collum helped herself with a single to score Araya and chase Cass’ starting pitcher with a 4-0 lead.

Bailey Sakacsi kept things rolling for Woodland with a single to bring in pinch-runner Taylor Hancock and then Alana Carnes singled home pinch-runner Bailey Gerstner and put the Lady Wildcats ahead 6-0.

After the second out, Dorn doubled in Sakacsi and Carnes to make it 8-0.

Cass had a runner in scoring position in the third inning after Hight and Woods both singled and one out later Darianna Sosa hit a sacrifice fly that scored Hight to cut Woodland’s lead to 8-1.

The Lady Wildcats got that run back and more in the bottom of the third. Carnes hit a one-out double and then scored on a bunt-single by Hammonds. An error on the same play scored Carnes and put Hammonds on third. Dorn then singled in Hammonds to make it 10-1 and the score went to 11-1 when Dorn scored on a passed ball.

After the second out, Araya and Hartsfield singled. Carrington, who had reached on a fielder’s choice earlier, Araya and pinch runner Adcock scored on a hit by Collum to make it 14-1.

Cass’ Bailey York led off the top of the fourth with a single, but Carrington started a double play against the next batter. Collum then struck out the final batter.

Woodland finished with 16 hits and every Lady Wildcat who made a plate appearance got at least one hit. Dorn went 3-for-3 with three RBIs and three runs scored. Collum went 2-for-3 with four RBIs.

Others with two hits were Araya, Sakacsi and Carnes. Araya, Hartsfield, Sakacsi and Carnes each had one RBI. Those with extra-base hits were Hammonds with a triple and Carnes, Smith and Dorn with doubles.

Collum picked up the win. She gave up one run on three hits in four innings. She struck out four and walked two.

For Cass, Hight, Woods and York each had hits for the Lady Colonels with Sosa earning an RBI.

Cass pitching combined to give up 14 runs on 16 hits, 11 of those runs earned, with one walk and no strikeouts.

The good news for the Lady Colonels is that they will still make the playoffs as the No. 4 seed. The Lady Wildcats are the No. 3 seed. Cartersville is Region 7-5A’s top seed and Calhoun is No. 2, meaning both will host while Cass and Woodland will travel.

The Super Regionals will start on Thursday, Oct. 20, and finish on Oct. 21. It hasn’t been confirmed yet by the GHSA, but according to the coaches Cass will go to Loganville, Woodland will travel to Vila Rica, and Calhoun will visit Cambridge.

Cartersville’s opponent is yet to be determined as four teams are vying for second, third and fourth place and that won’t be decided until this Thursday.