The two teams were meeting in Perfect Game's 16U National Championship series, being played in Cobb County and at venues across North Georgia, including five games for NBS at the baseball field at Cass.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the second, Patterson bunted his way on with one out, then stole second and third base in rapid succession. That kind of thievery is enough to drive a pitcher to distraction. How else to explain the balk then called on Marucci's Ben Chauvin as the Wildcat fairly danced around third base while keeping an eye pointed hungrily toward home plate?
The balk enabled NBS to tie the game at 1-all and the Acworth-based travel ball team, which includes four Bartow County players, then took the lead in the frame when courtesy runner Joey Hume of Etowah scored as Andrew Fisher of Riverwood reached on an error.
An inning later Brandon Etheridge of Cass continued the rally when he singled to right field with two outs. Alex Bahr of Marietta hit a home run over the right center field wall to score both and lift NBS to a commanding 4-1 lead.
Marucci players had no quit in them, however, and in the top of the fifth, they struck back as Hunter Bolin doubled with one out. He went home when Matthew Alford hit an RBI single, closing the gap to 4-2 as rain clouds began threatening the game.
In the bottom of the sixth, Etheridge drew a base on balls then scored when Dylan Williams, another Cass player, doubled him in, to close out scoring for NBS.
Marucci batted in the top of the seventh and got Chauvin on with a single. He was forced at second when Paul Roppolo hit a fielder's choice. NBS then turned a double play to end the game, just moments before a downpour hit.
Patterson and Etheridge both pitched an inning for NBS, with Patterson surrendering one run and giving up two hits while Etheridge gave up one hit and no runs.
Coach Jarrod Brown had asked his NBS 16's to end their season on a high note and he said their win was especially satisfying.
"The guys came out and played hard against a very good team," Brown said. "They had to win this last game so we could end our season on a good note. I believe every one had a good game."
The coach said he would like to have made the playoffs but it didn't happen.
"It was not what we were looking for, but it still wasn't a bad tournament," Brown added. "It was still a good showing for most of our guys.
"There were 204 teams in this tournament and we definitely played teams with some really good players. We did well considering who we played against and the results we had. We would like to have been in the state tournament, but I'm not disappointed with the way we played at all."