Breeana Wilson socked a two-run homer in the bottom of the third inning to give Adairsville a 5-4 lead over Cass, and the Tigers never looked back in earning a 9-4 victory in the third-place game of the Bartow County Championships Saturday at Hamilton Crossing.
The blast by Wilson, who turned in a 2-for-3 performance with a walk, a run and two RBI, completely turned the game on its head.
"I think that kind of got our girls down," Cass head coach Taylor Weeks said. "... We got down on ourselves after the home run."
A triple by Sierra Tanner and a double by Sadye Johnson later in the inning gave Adairsville a 7-4 advantage in what was a rematch of last year's championship game, which Cass won 10-2.
Four singles added up to another pair of runs for the Tigers in the fourth. Victoria O'Neal and Chloe Souders led off the frame with hits. Taylor Rhoades and Havyn Issac had RBI knocks to put the game out of reach.
O'Neal pitched stellar out of the bullpen to ensure Cass never rallied. She went four scoreless innings with seven strikeouts, three hits and no walks.
Cass jumped out early with a run in the top of the first. Saydee Najarro, who had a great 2-for-4 day with two runs and two RBI, singled with one out, Rachael Lee followed with a base hit and Haley Smith drove in her first of two runs with a groundout.
Adairsville answered right back in its first turn at bat. Natalie Burrow singled home Tanner, who finished 1-for-2 with two walks, two runs and an RBI, to tie the game. Johnson scored on an error to give the Tigers the lead.
The next inning, Johnson, who had three hits, a run and two RBI, singled home Rhoades, who added two hits herself, for a 3-1 advantage.
The Colonels looked set to turn things around with a three-run third. Kaila Carson, who also had a hit in the game, was hit by a pitch to open the frame; Brylie Sanford followed with one of her two hits; and Najarro came through with a clutch, two-run single to tie the game.
Following a groundout, Smith doubled home Najarro to give Cass the lead.
"Haley Smith has done a great job lately," Weeks said. "She's been stepping it up in the dugout and on the field. She stays up, and she helps keep the team up. I think the girls look to her as a leader."
Adairsville will return to Region 6-AAA play Thursday with a road date at Sonoraville. Cass, meanwhile, will look to put its pair of losses behind it with a couple of road games at East Paulding and Carrollton — the top teams in the Region 7-AAAAA standings.
"We're just going to let these two games go and get back after it Monday," Weeks said. "Work on the things we need to improve on."
She added, "I think we just have to play as a team. We string hits together and make plays on defense, and I think we're going to be fine."
Woodland 6, Adairsville 1
Woodland advanced to Saturday's championship game with a solid 6-1 win over Adairsville on Friday night at Hamilton Crossing.
Bella Carnes, who finished 3-for-4, opened the game with a double. She and Ansley Evans, who singled, came in to score on an error for a quick 2-0 lead.
The Tigers came right back with a run in the bottom half of the first. Sierra Tanner walked, Sadye Johnson singled and Victoria O'Neal drove in Adairsville's lone run with a groundout.
Sarah Baynard went the distance for Woodland, needing just 73 pitches to complete the stellar performance. She allowed six hits and one walk. Baynard managed just three strikeouts, but two of them came with runners on second and third in the second inning to escape a jam.
The Wildcats used four fourth-inning singles to plate another run. Jordan Duck, Hannah Miller and Morgan Cooper, who had two hits, singled to load the bags before Carnes made it 4-1 with her two-run knock to left.
Woodland put the game on ice with a single tally apiece in the sixth and seventh innings. In the sixth, Carnes added her third RBI of the game on a fielder's choice to score Kendyl Hardin.
Evans, who wound up 2-for-4, scored on a wild pitch to set the final margin.
Baynard allowed a pair of singles in the seventh, but she picked up her third strikeout to finish things out.
Sadye Johnson, Natalie Burrow and Breanna Wilson each 2-for-3 to lead Adairsville. O'Neal pitched six innings, giving up five runs (three earned) on nine hits and one walk with six strikeouts.
Cartersville 8, Cass 0
Colbi Ballard struggled Saturday, but the senior pitched outstanding in Friday's 8-0 semifinal victory over Cass to send Cartersville to the championship game.
Ballard struck out nine in her five-inning, complete-game win. She allowed one hit and walked two in the nearly flawless outing.
Offensively, the Canes backed her with runs in every inning, alternating between two-run frames and one-run stanzas.
Presley Edwards and AnnaKate McElhaney, who each finished 1-for-2 with a walk, a run and an RBI, had run-scoring singles in the first inning to stake Cartersville to a 2-0 lead.
In the second inning, Brooklyn Pittman scored on a double-steal attempt. The next inning, Edwards and Lauren McElhaney, who went a perfect 3-for-3 with two runs, scored on an error for a 5-0 edge.
Ballard helped her own cause in the fourth when her RBI groundout drove in Hope Short, who finished 1-for-1 with a walk and a run.
Cartersville, which heads to Cedartown on Tuesday, ended proceedings early with a two-run fifth. Pittman capped her 1-for-2 day with a run-scoring single and the game-ending run on a groundout by Cio Seigler.
Eryn Lee had the lone hit for the Colonels, while Kylee Hembree and Maggie Collum drew walks. Cass will jump back into Region 7-AAAAA action with a road trip to East Paulding on Wednesday.