RINGGOLD 11, GAINESVILLE 3
Gainesville 000 // 200 // 1 -- 3 // 6 // 1
Ringgold 020 // 810 // x -- 11 // 11 // 2
WP: Austin Parrish (9-0), CG. LP: Hunter Anglin (8-1). HR: Anglin (G); Andy Mochabee 2 (R). 2B: Read Walden (R). Other highlights: An. Mochabee 2-4, 4 RBIs; Parrish 2-4, RBI, run; Adam Weldon 2-4, 2 runs; Wright Hackett 2-3, 2 runs, RBI; Slade Dale 1-2, 3 BBs, 2 runs (R); Michael Gettys 2-3, run; Anglin 2 RBIs (G). Records: Ringgold 29-6; Gainesville 32-2.
GAINESVILLE, Ga. -- Its brief lead gone and the mostly hostile standing-room-only crowd at Ivey Watson Field suddenly alive, the Ringgold High School baseball team did what it usually does when facing adversity.
Tied at 2 entering the bottom of the fourth inning in their Class AAA semifinal do-or-die game at second-ranked Gainesville, the Tigers erupted for eight runs -- four scoring on two Andy Mochabee home runs -- and advanced to the finals with an 11-3 win.
Ringgold will host Cartersville, which eliminated upstart Troup County on Tuesday, in the championship series. It is scheduled to begin with a doubleheader Saturday but both teams want to wait until Monday because of graduations this weekend; GHSA approval will be sought today.
"They've played in this game before," Ringgold coach Brent Tucker said of his Tigers. "They were there two years ago and they were there last week, and they understand what it takes in this type of game."
The Tigers (29-6) relied on the experience of an elimination game less than a week earlier to regroup after the Red Elephants (32-2) tied the game on a two-run homer from Hunter Anglin. Gainesville then had runners on third and first with no one out when Caleb Whitenton hit a hard grounder to third baseman Corey Kafka, who teamed with catcher Mochabee to run the down the lead runner for the first out. Kafka then whirled and caught David Gonzalez straying too far from second, killing the threat.
Mochabee then hit Anglin's first pitch of the inning over the left-field wall to recapture the lead for the Tigers. Ringgold sent 12 batters to the plate in the inning as Anglin, who had fouled a ball hard off his landing foot just before hitting his homer, struggled to throw strikes.
Still, there were two outs in the inning when Read Walden delivered an RBI double. Anglin then threw consecutive wild pitches, with two more runs scoring.
Austin Parrish added an RBI single before Mochabee delivered the killing blow, a three-run homer to dead left, ending Anglin's day and Gainesville's title hopes.
"I was ready for the first fastball I saw and I hit it," Mochabee said. "It meant a lot since they had just tied it. They thought they were back in it, but it seemed to take a lot out of them with that home run. This team has been together for so long that we know what to do in the right situations. They haven't had a game three like we had, so we knew exactly what to expect."
That game-three experience may have helped starting pitcher Parrish the most. He started and won game three in the quarterfinals, but he struggled with control and got tired late. Outside of the fourth inning Tuesday he was in complete control, allowing only six hits as the aggressive Gainesville hitters hit several weak ground balls and popups.
"What a performance by Austin Parrish," Tucker said. "Being able to pitch the game three the other day was huge. He was rusty and had a hard time getting the feel for his pitches in that game, but he was able to come out here today and be sharp from the start."
Parrish, who added two hits, agreed.
"Game three last week helped me get the rust off, so I was ready to go today," he said. "It boosted my confidence way up when we got all those runs. I didn't worry about them getting on base from that point on and just concentrated on making my pitches."
At the plate the Tigers took what Anglin gave them, leading to a two-run second inning that featured RBI singles from Wright Hackett and Slade Dale.
"We wanted every aspect of our game to show up today, and it did," Tucker surmised. "We didn't give our best effort at the plate yesterday, though a lot of that goes to those guys over there. Today we had a much better approach."
Contact Lindsey Young at email@example.com or at 423-757-6296.