RINGGOLD, Ga. - Slade Dale fully believes in baseball deities, and the Ringgold High School shortstop knows they can be fickle. So even after a game like Thursday's 10-2 win over Coahulla Creek in which the senior had two hits, including a grand slam, and made several strong defensive plays, Dale wouldn't take all the credit.
"The baseball gods were smiling today," Dale beamed. "Every day you wake up and you look up at the baseball gods and say, 'How are y'all feeling today?' Those baseball gods are real, I tell you, and today they had the wind blowing out."
Dale took advantage of that wind in the third inning with Ringgold trailing 2-0 after Coahulla Creek's Erick Dominguez hit a two-run homer in the second. With the bases loaded and one out, Dale lifted Zack Glines' 1-1 pitch into the jet stream and it easily cleared the center-field fence, turning the Region 5-AAA game around.
The Tigers (14-6, 6-1) added a pair of runs in the fourth on Kevin Ingle's RBI double and Hayden Moss's run-scoring single and got one in the fifth on Zach Morris' homer. They added three more insurance runs in the sixth, two scoring on Logan Baldwin's single.
Senior right-hander Davis Brown made the lead stand up, going the distance and allowing just four hits, none in the final three innings. Brown's sinker and quick pace played a big part in the Tigers' error-free defense.
"I felt like that was the best game we've played in a long time," Ringgold coach Brent Tucker said. "We've been stranding a lot of runners, and tonight we were able to get a few big hits and got them in. Davis did a great job on the mound, and after that first hiccup he kept the ball on the ground and we made all the plays."
Despite the strong performance and a spot atop the 5-AAA standings with Cartersville and Sonoraville at the league's midway point, Dale believes the Tigers haven't reached their peak.
"We didn't beat Cartersville," he said of the Tigers' lone region loss. "We want to be perfect, and even though we've won 10 of our last 11 games, I don't think we're playing our best ball right now. We want to host all through the playoffs, so that's important, so we can't let up."
Dale, Morris, Garrett Yates and Ingle each had two of the Tigers' 12 hits, while Jackson Sheppard was 2-for-3 for the Colts (4-12, 1-6).
Contact Lindsey Young at email@example.com or at 423-757-6296.