Player of the Year
It’s hard to stand out on a team full of stars, but the Ringgold senior pitcher and third baseman did just that in helping lead the Tigers to a 24-4 season. The future Kennesaw State University player — and brother to current Kennesaw softball star Jessica Cross — was a terror at the plate with a .487 average, four homers, eight doubles, 27 runs scored and 28 RBIs and on the mound with a 7-0 record, a 0.92 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 47 innings.
“Colt had a good season,” coach Brent Tucker said of the son of former Ringgold pitching great Jesse Cross. “He’s been hitting in the 3 hole for three years, and this year with an average over .480 and some key RBIs, he did a great job. And we needed him to also be great on the mound, and he was. He also showed a lot of maturity this year. He started to come into his own this year, and with Colt his best baseball is still ahead of him and I think we’ll start to see it in college. We’re very proud of him.”
Coach of the Year
In many ways Tucker’s fourth season as Ringgold’s head coach will stick in his mind as one full of victory, and only partly because of the team’s 24-4 record and co-championship in tough Region 7-AAA.
Tucker’s Tigers overcame the death of longtime Ringgold coach Bill Womack just before the season, then had to endure the loss of their school and two classmates in the EF-4 tornado that ravaged the town in late April. The Tigers may have fallen short of their goal of a state title — losing to defending champion Columbus in a thrilling second-round series — but that loss will pale in Tucker’s mind to what the team accomplished.
“The third-game loss to Columbus was one of those moments where you know you let something go,” he said. “On the other hand, it’s hard to feel too bad about a 24-4 season where we lost to only two teams — Cartersville and Columbus, two of the best programs in the state. Throughout the entire season we played excellent baseball and there was so much to be proud of. There are a lot of good memories from it. Losing Coach Womack and nearly all the town, moving schools and everything, it was a year of ups and downs, but it showed the coaches’ and players’ character. That was what got us through.”
The North Georgia basketball signee hit .420 with 31 RBIs, 45 runs and 27 steals and was 7-0 with a 1.56 ERA.
The future Clemson Tiger was 8-1 with a 1.13 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 42 innings and hit .366 with five homers.
He batted .558 with 16 doubles, 21 RBIs and 28 runs scored to go with a .618 on-base percentage.
The 4.0 student headed to LaGrange College hit .440 with three homers, 11 doubles, 45 RBIs and 29 runs.
The first-year starter had a team-high .500 average, shared the lead with 10 homers and had 25 RBIs and 31 runs.
He batted .448 with six homers and 47 RBIs to go with seven wins and 84 strikeouts in 50 innings pitched.
The future Chattanooga State player had four wins and a 2.13 ERA plus a batting .413 average and 28 RBIs.
The two-time all-star had a .437 batting average, 11 doubles and 24 RBIs and five pitching victories.
He belted 12 homers and drove in 37 runs while hitting .464 and was 7-1 with 73 strikeouts in 42 innings.
The first-year starter led the Trojans with a .438 average, six homers and 32 RBIs as a 10th-grader.
He batted .474 with five homers, six doubles, 22 RBIs and 23 runs for the Region 7-AAA co-champions.
He had a breakthrough season with a .425 average, five homers, nine doubles, 21 RBIs and 28 runs scored.
Dylan Culver Lakeview-F.O. Senior Outfielder
Landon Curtis Calhoun Senior Infielder
Trent Frix Calhoun Senior Outfielder
Carter Gillean Dalton Junior Outfielder
Ethan Hunter LaFayette Senior Pitcher
Caleb Jones Ringgold Senior Catcher
Corey Kafka Ringgold Junior Infielder
Zach Lance Ringgold Senior Infielder
Chris Little Dade County Senior Pitcher
Taylor Patterson Murray County Senior Pitcher
Cody Sherlin Heritage Junior Infielder
Justin Walker Lakeview-F.O. Senior Utility
Teams of the Year
- Ringgold (24-4). The Tigers overcame several obstacles during the season, including the death of former coach Bill Womack and the tornado tragedy of April 27, to earn a share of the tough Region 7-AAA title and a first-round playoff win.
- Calhoun (21-7). The Yellow Jackets lost nearly every starter from last season’s Class AA championship team yet went undefeated in subregion 7B-AA and won a first-round state playoff series.
- Dade County (21-9). This year’s surprise team earned a Class AA playoff berth for second-year coach Matthew High.