RINGGOLD, Ga. - Facing his team's biggest region rival on the road, Cartersville High School baseball coach Stuart Chester knew exactly whom he wanted on the mound Thursday.
Senior Hayes Linn doesn't have the best stuff on the Purple Hurricanes' staff, but the right-hander makes up for it with poise. Even with a less-than-ideal start, he pitched two-hit, eight-strikeout ball over six innings in Thursday's 4-2 win at Ringgold.
"We go out and give up an unearned run in the first inning, but he kept his poise and did a great job," Chester said after Cartersville improved to 9-3 overall and 5-0 in Region 5-AAA. "He's the free safety on the football team, so he's that type of competitor and it showed tonight. He locates and throws strikes, and if we play good defense behind him we'll be in good shape."
Austin Parrish's RBI single in the first inning, after leadoff hitter Slade Dale reached on an error, put the Tigers (9-6, 2-2 ) on top, but Linn quickly settled down. Ringgold got only an infield single in the third inning in the next three innings.
Ringgold's Logan Baldwin also was tossing zeros, allowing only a walk in the first three innings. That quickly changed in the fourth when Tripp Jamieson led off with a single and one out later Austin Adams hit an 0-2 pitch over the left-center-field fance for a 2-1 'Canes lead.
They added an unearned run in the fifth and went up 4-1 on JoJo Underwood's leadoff homer in the sixth. Ringgold scored one in the sixth without the aid of a hit, but Linn escaped further trouble and Conner Justus had a perfect seventh inning to earn the save.
"We've got to get the bats going," Ringgold coach Brent Tucker said. "We faced some quality pitching today, but we had some situations where we could have done more. We've played a lot of the big teams close, but we can't seem to get over the hump.
"Maybe this game will help us do that. We've got less than 24 hours to figure it out before we play Adairsville."
Contact Lindsey Young at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 423-757-6296.