RINGGOLD 8, HERITAGE 2
Heritage 010 010 0 - 2 6 3
Ringgold 310 040 x - 8 8 1
WP: Corey Kafka (3-1), CG, 5 Ks. LP: Blake Hamilton. HR: Andy Mocahbee (R). 2B: Cody Sherlin, Colby Chattin (H); Reed Walden, Allen Mocahbee (R). Other highlights: Andy Mocahbee 4 RBIs; Kafka 2-3, RBI; Allen Mocahbee 2-4, RBI, run (R); Sherlin, Chattin 2 hits each (H). Records: Ringgold 14-3, 11-1 7-AAA; Heritage 12-3, 8-3.
RINGGOLD, Ga. - Andy Mocahbee picked himself up after holding onto the ball following the play at home plate, saw the umpire make the out call to end the inning and promptly spiked the baseball.
The Ringgold High School senior catcher then drove a spike into rival Heritage's heart. Mocahbee hit a first-pitch grand slam in the fifth inning to break open a close game and lead the Region 7-AAA-leading Tigers to an 8-2 win over their crosstown rivals.
The No. 7 hitter in the lineup made the Generals pay for intentionally walking Austin Parrish to load the bases with two out.
"I was already pumped because of the play at the plate that ended the top half of the inning, and when they walked Austin I said to myself, 'They've got the wrong person at the plate,'" Mocahbee said about his first homer of the season. "I was ready to hit the first pitch, and it was a fastball."
Ringgold (14-3, 11-1) and senior pitcher Corey Kafka escaped a serious jam in the top half, thanks in large part to Mocahbee's sprawling play at the plate. Down 4-1, the Generals (12-3, 8-3) had runners at third and second with two out when Cody Sherlin drilled a single to left, easily scoring Colby Chattin.
Lee Gibson rounded third and drew a strong throw home before going back to the bag, but Sherlin took off for second. Mocahbee's throw was late as Gibson sprinted home. Ringgold second baseman Wright Hackett fired home, but the ball skipped in the dirt. Mocahbee scooped it up and applied the tag just as Gibson was about to score.
"That's not really something you work on. It was just athletes out there making plays," Ringgold coach Brent Tucker said. "Andy made a nice play at the plate and then he got the big hit. Offensively, it's like I tell the guys every year, we've got to be one through nine. Last night (No. 8 hitter) Wright Hackett came up with a big hit to give us some breathing room, and tonight our No. 7 hitter not only came through but he gave us a nice cushion."
Kafka (3-1) did not allow another runner and finished with a tidy six-hitter and five strikeouts. The game was another example, he said, of a new approach on the mound.
"I started off a little bumpy, but I fought through it," Kafka said. "I let my teammates help me out, and they came through. The last time facing Heritage as a high school player, this feels nice. Every time I try to overthrow and strike people out, I tended to walk people, so I try to get them to hit weak grounders and pop-ups."
The Tigers reached Heritage freshman starting pitcher Blake Hamilton for three first-inning runs, the big hits coming from Allan Mocahbee and Read Walden. Kafka, who had an RBI single in the second, started the fifth with a single and moved to third on Allen Mocahbee's double. Heritage reliever Sherlin got the next two outs without any runs scoring, but, following the walk to Parrish, Andy Mocahbee did not let the Generals off the hook.
Sherlin and Colby Chattin had two hits each for the Generals, while Allen Mocahbee and Kafka had four of the Tigers' eight hits.