As coach Jason Lanham said, Monday was a good day to be a Trion Bulldog.
Trion got a signature win by scoring five runs in the seventh inning to defeat Darlington 5-3. The Tigers (17-2) came in ranked No. 1 among Class A private schools and were a game up on Gordon Lee in Region 6-A, while the Bulldogs (13-7) were coming off a rough week that had seriously jeopardized their playoff hopes.
"With the power ranking system the way it is, to knock off the No. 1 team on the private side goes a long way to helping us," Lanham said. "We took a big step Monday against a very good team, and we hope it will have some carryover so that this team can get in the playoffs. We can beat any team in the state, and now we know that."
A single, a couple of walks and an error set the Bulldogs up for the big inning, which was capped by Donald Morgan's two-run double. Ethan Young had kept them in it with 5 2/3 innings of three-run pitching, and Ryan Roach got the win after getting out of a two-on, two-out jam in the sixth.
Trion moved to 12th in the public school rankings and would be in the field if it were picked today.
The Region 6-A title will be on the line Friday when Gordon Lee hosts Darlington, the only team to defeat the Trojans this year. Gordon Lee (19-1) is third in the latest public school power rankings behind Charlton County and Emanuel County Institute, and a win Friday would lock up a top-four seed and maybe the top overall seed.
Northwest Whitfield's impressive sweep of rival Dalton last week clinched the Region 7B-AAAA regular-season title with a week still to go. The Bruins (17-3, 12-0) have won 13 consecutive games and will, following this week's series with LaFayette, host the region championship beginning next Wednesday.
"It's nice to have it clinched, but we want to stay sharp," Northwest coach Todd Middleton said. "We'll stick with our regular lineup, which hasn't changed much during the season, but we'll get some guys on the mound that haven't had as much time."
Middleton will be watching the happenings on the other side of the region, where Cedartown (6-4), River Ridge (5-4) and Cass (5-4) are fighting for the right to face Northwest. Cedartown and Cass are facing each other, but River Ridge goes against last-place Pickens County and holds the tiebreaker over both of the others.
Also in 7B-AAAA, Heritage won 7-1 as it opened a crucial series Tuesday night against Dalton that will decide second place. Both will get the chance to play their way into the postseason next week as the second and third seeds from each subregion will play a best-of-three series against each other, with the winner making the playoffs.
Four teams are in a battle for the final playoff spot in Region 5-AAA, though only leader Cartersville is locked into its seeding. Ringgold (8-3) needs only one win in the final three games to clinch the No. 2 spot, which carries a home playoff series.
Sonoraville (6-4) is in third and would have to fall apart to miss the playoffs. That leaves North Murray, Coahulla Creek, Adairsville and Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe for the final spot. North Murray owns impressive wins over Ringgold and Sonoraville but had lost three straight before a 4-0 win Tuesday against Coahulla.