CALHOUN, Ga. - On a night when his team needed a wakeup call, Ringgold High School senior Austin Parrish let his bat do the talking.
He ended the conversation with his right arm.
Parrish pitched a complete-game five-hitter and allowed no earned runs in a 6-3 Region 5-AAA baseball win Tuesday at Sonoraville. Played in winterlike conditions with wind-chills dipping into the mid-20s, the early-season region game turned on Parrish's second-inning at-bat.
Trailing 3-1 after a sloppy two-error bottom of the first, the Tigers had runners on second and first with two out when Parrish tied the game with a double, his first of three hits. He scored moments later on Nathan Miller's single as the heretofore quiet Ringgold bench erupted to life.
"I knew it would get them going if I could score those two runs," Parrish said of his big hit. "We were kind of dead early. This is a big win for us after the way we played the other day."
The Tigers (9-5, 2-1) lost their previous region game to what was a 3-7 North Murray team, so following the rough first inning coach Brent Tucker was noticeably on edge. Though still not completely satisfied with the game, he did see some positive developments.
"This was survival," Tucker said. "Austin Parrish was strong mentally on the mound. We gave them the lead and I know Austin was ready to blow a gasket over there, but he kept his cool and focused on what was a rough day. That's a senior who has been through the wars and who knew we needed a win."
Parrish took the lead and ran with it. The right-hander had just one rough spot after the first inning. The Phoenix (7-4, 2-1) had runners on second and first with one out and the top of the order up, but Parrish retired Patrick Thurman on a popup and struck out Chris Baker looking on a tight curve.
He allowed an infield hit and one walk the rest of the way to improve to 3-1.
"That was real tough in this cold to get any rhythm today," said Parrish, who struck out seven. "It's hard to go from getting warm before the game to getting cold, but after we got going it was OK."
Miller and Hayden Moss had two hits each for the Tigers, while Thomas Worsham had three hits and an RBI for the Phoenix.