Last Friday, the Cass baseball team outlasted Hiram in a thrilling game that saw the teams combine for 11 seventh-inning runs in a 14-13 road win for the Colonels. It didn't seem possible for the team's rematch to come close to the same level of intensity.
But Tuesday's meeting might have even surpassed it.
With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Karson Kelley smacked a ball through the infield to score the winning run and cap a three-run frame to lift Cass to an 8-7 home victory Tuesday.
Kelley's clutch hit completed a nearly flawless inning for the Colonels (7-5, 3-1). Thomas Botts opened the sequence with a single, moved over on a wild pitch and scored on Sam Melton's double. Logan Nelson reached on a single and advanced to second on the throw to put the tying and winning runs in scoring position.
A sacrifice fly by Jayden Smith brought home Melton and allowed courtesy runner Kyle Miller to reach third base. Kelley followed with his walk-off hit to send Cass to its third win in four region games.
Hiram (0-8, 0-4) looked primed to avenge Friday's heartbreaking loss, which finished with the tying and winning runs in scoring position, with a three-run first inning.
A Matt Shook triple and a steal of home kicked off a two-run bottom of the third for Cass. Blaine Ingram drew a walk, stole second and third before scoring on Botts' sac fly.
However, the Hornets responded with their second three-run frame in the fourth to take a 6-2 lead. The Colonels got one run back in their half of the inning, as Miller scored on Bryson Markley's double.
A two-out rally saw Cass pull within 6-5 in the fifth. With two down, Botts singled home Clay Means, who had hit a one-out double earlier in the inning. Following an error, Botts scored on a passed ball.
Hiram tacked on an insurance run in the top of the seventh, but even the two-run lead proved not to be enough to keep Cass from pulling off the come-from-behind win.
Shook finished with three hits — a single, a double and a triple. Botts went 2-for-3, drove in two runs and scored twice. Nelson had just one hit but walked in his other three plate appearances. Kelley's key knock came in his only at-bat of the night.
On the mound, Smith earned the win in relief. He gave up an earned run on two hits and two walks in two innings. Smith picked up the save in Game 1 between these two teams, recording the final out Friday.
Cass will face Rome Wednesday on the road and Friday at home, as the Colonels look to keep up their current momentum.