BASEBALL: Ringgold’s run ended by Hart County
The 2019 season was another outstanding season for the Ringgold Tigers. Unfortunately for the Blue-and-White and their fan base, it was an outstanding season that ended much too soon.
After taking Game 1 on Wednesday, 5-4, the visitors from Hart County came back to Bill Womack Field on Thursday and knocked off the Region 6 champion Tigers two straight times to advance to the quarterfinal round of the Class 3A state playoffs.
Hart County 1, Ringgold 0
Picking up on Thursday afternoon in the second inning of Game 2, after Wednesday night’s thunderstorms halted play for the evening, the Bulldogs played small ball to get the only run of the game in the bottom of the third inning.
A walk, a sacrifice bunt and an RBI-single would get the job done, while solid pitching from Bulldog starter Will Dean and error-free defense would make the run hold up. Ringgold’s best chance to score came late as the Tigers put two runners on base with two outs in the top of the sixth inning, but could not get the tying run home.
Wyatt Tennant had two hits in the game. Andre Tarver doubled and Mason Parker added a single.
Tennant pitched six outstanding innings. He gave up four hits, walked just one batter and finished with eight strikeouts. Dean pitched all seven innings for the Bulldogs, allowing three walks and four hits with three strikeouts.
Hart County 10, Ringgold 5
The Tigers and the Bulldogs were in a 2-2 deadlock before Ringgold, playing as the visiting team again in Game 3, found some two-out magic in the form of a two-run double by Holden Tucker that put the Blue-and-White up 4-2.
But the bottom of the fourth inning would spell trouble for the Tigers as Hart County pushed home four runs on just one hit to regain the lead, 6-4.
Ringgold would once again threaten in the top of the sixth, but the Bulldogs would come up with two great defensive plays to escape trouble. Left fielder J.P. White chased down a hard liner off the bat of Tennant before Dean, the third baseman in Game 3, corralled a hard-hit grounder by Tucker and fired to first to nip Ringgold’s No. 2 hitter by a half-step to end the inning.
The Bulldogs put it away a half-inning later as an infield-single, an error and a walk loaded the bases for Chase Dalton, who launched a grand slam over the left field fence. Dalton finished the day 3-for-3 with a game-high six RBIs.
Ringgold showed its grit in the top of the seventh as Tarver led off with a single before scoring on a two-out double by Johnny Camillucci. However, it would be too little, too late as Hart secured one final pop-up to end the game.
Right-handed sidearmer Ethan Jones gave up five earned runs on 10 hits and four walks for the Bulldogs in seven innings. He finished with two strikeouts, while the Hart defense played 21 innings in the three-game series with just one error and turned two double plays in the first three innings of Game 3 to escape trouble.
Tucker had a pair of doubles for Ringgold. Tarver had two hits and scored twice, while Brayden Broome went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Six different pitchers toed the rubber for the Tigers in the series finale. They combined to allow just six hits in six innings, although they surrendered seven walks and had just three strikeouts.
Ringgold finished the year with a 27-8 overall record.