Whatever extra motivation Cass may have used, it paid immediate dividends Thursday as the Lady Colonels upset the state-ranked, Lady Wildcats, 4-3, at Woodland.
"Obviously, the talk in softball has been the play of Woodland," Cass coach Chris Allen said of the Lady Wildcats, who were ranked No. 4 in the latest GaPrepCountry.com Class AAAA coaches' poll. "All we've heard about is how great they are and how good they are.
"We always tell (our girls) time and time again (that) if we play ball, we can compete with the best of them."
Trailing 3-1 going into the seventh inning, the bottom of the Lady Colonels' order produced the needed plays to put Cass in position for the upset.
Allison Abernathy and Nicole Bailey led off the inning with hits and were moved over to second and third base, with both players eventually reaching home plate.
"To be down 3-1 in our last at-bat and have the 7, 8, 9 hitters coming up and be able to push the winning run through is huge," Allen said.
Myra Russell singled to left field to bring in Samaria Curtis, the Lady Colonels' game-winning run.
Still needing to record three outs, Cass freshman pitcher Courtney Bailey got Woodland's Nos. 2, 3 and 4 hitters out.
"We had a freshman pitcher on the mound going against (Lady Wildcats' senior pitcher) Emily Clay, and our freshman closes (the game) out the heart of their order.
Bailey pitched three innings, giving up no earned runs, three hits and one walk. Lady Colonels' starter Jessica Fetzer pitched four innings, holding Woodland scoreless for three innings before giving up five hits and two earned runs.
Cass hitters included Curtis (two hits, run, stolen base); Russell (hit, RBI); Abernathy (two hits, run, stolen base); and Nicole Bailey (hit, run).
After falling behind 1-0 when the Lady Colonels scored in the fourth, the Lady Wildcats responded with two runs in the bottom half of the fourth. They added another run in the sixth to take a two-run lead.
"We just can't make six errors and score one earned run and expect to beat anybody, especially Cass," Woodland coach Colman Roberts said. "They were well prepared and played a good game."
"We took a 3-1 lead and they came right back at us," Roberts continued. "We were outcoached and outplayed tonight."
The loss, their first of the season, drops the Lady Wildcats to 9-1 (3-1 Region 7A-AAAA).
Cass (6-4-1, 2-1) positioned itself to possibly overtake Woodland for the top spot in its sub-region with two important games coming next week. The Lady Colonels host region foes Sequoyah and Northwest Whitfield Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.
The Lady Wildcats will look to bounce back quickly with a home game with Hillgrove Saturday.