A bad day could have put the Northwest Whitfield baseball team on the outside looking in for the upcoming GHSA state playoffs.
The Bruins, however, awoke at the plate Friday to sweep host Heritage in a Region 7-AAAA doubleheader, 5-3 and 8-5, saving their postseason hopes with six league games to play.
The wins move Northwest to 13-10 overall and 7-5 in the region. The Bruins came in fifth in the standings and are now tied with Central-Carroll for fourth. Those teams meet next week in a three-game series.
Heritage (15-9, 8-4) remains in second place.
"Those were two great wins," Northwest coach Todd Middleton said. "I was excited to see the guys bounce back after a tough loss Monday. Hopefully this gets us going for the stretch run over the last two weeks."
Keaton McQuaig was 2-for-3 with a homer and two RBIs in game one while also earning the pitching win by going four innings and allowing two runs on three hits and striking out eight batters. Seth Riverman added two hits and Aiden Hosford two RBIs for the Bruins, while Maddox Henry had two hits and Gage Shaver drove in a pair of runs for Heritage.
Hosford was the star in game two, going 2-for-3 with three RBIs and going the distance on the mound with six strikeouts. Henry Scruggs had two hits, with Austin Cooley and University of Florida recruit Cade Fisher each driving in two runs. Max Owens had two hits for Heritage, which also got RBIs from Brady Chandler, Landon Skeen and Cannon Stafford.
LFO 5, Murray County 2: Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe (13-7, 7-2 Region 6-AAA) mustered only three hits but managed to plate three runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth. Will Carroll had two hits, an RBI and scored three times for the Warriors, Tanner Mantooth drove in two runs and Donnie Brown allowed five hits and no earned runs while striking out eight in seven innings. Landon Bennett had two hits for the Indians.
Ringgold 12, Woodland-Bartow 7: At the LakePoint complex in Emerson, Ty Gilbert had a triple and double, drove in four runs and scored three times, while Sam Crew had a three-run triple for the Tigers.
Ringgold 5, Cass 0: Also at LakePoint, Robbie Bates limited the Colonels to two hits and struck out six in six innings, with Mason Parker adding two hits, one a triple, and Ty Gilbert a two-run homer for the Tigers (12-12).
Coahulla Creek 16, North Murray 1: Hot-hitting Ryan Langford had three hits, including a homer, drove in four runs and scored three, with Joey Estrada adding three RBIs and Trevor Headrick two hits and three runs scored for the Colts (10-11, 7-6 Region 6-AAA).
Gordon Lee 12-9, Bowdon 9-4: The Trojans (12-9, 8-0 Region 6-A public) swept the doubleheader as Holt Roberts was 3-for-3 with two homers and a triple while driving in five runs in game one before adding two hits and an RBI in game two. Aiden Goodwin was 2-for-3 with two runs in game one, and Garrett Ramey and Bo Rhudy each drove in two runs in game two for Gordon Lee.
Pike County 3, Calhoun 1: Four Pike County pitchers limited the Yellow Jackets to seven hits and struck out 12 in the nonregion game. Andrew Purdy had three hits and an RBI, while Jake Slaughter added two hits for Calhoun (15-8).
There has been no solution to stopping Baylor School's varsity baseball team for quite a while now.
The Red Raiders won their 24th straight game against a local opponent as Caleb Hampton and Mack Whitcomb helped lead them to a 13-5 home victory over Silverdale Baptist Academy on a chilly Friday night on the banks of the Tennessee River.
Hampton and Whitcomb each drilled a three-run home run to left field as Baylor put up 10 runs through the first three innings.
Round-trippers continue to be a constant for co-coaches Greg Elie and Mike Kinney's team, which hit six home runs in Thursday's sweep of a region doubleheader at Knoxville Webb. The Red Raiders, who improved to 6-5 with Friday's victory, have hit 18 home runs this season.
"The key for us is to go out on the field and have fun every game and have a championship approach," said Hampton, who had four RBIs and was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle against the Seahawks.
"We are the defending state champions," added Hampton, who has committed to South Carolina in baseball and football. "We go out there to defend our title. That mindset doesn't change even though we do have some new guys in key roles stepping up for us. There's no doubt in my mind when we play our game we can beat anyone in the state."
Baylor was tabbed as the top baseball program in the state by MaxPreps.com in the preseason, and even in the Red Raiders' losses their caliber of play has met that of a team that has won three straight TSSAA Division II-AA state championships.
In the PBR National High School Select tournament, the Red Raiders dropped four games, including three against programs with top-15 national rankings as they fell 14-10 to IMG Academy, 2-1 to Brother Rice and 14-8 to Bob Jones.
Henry Godbout had a three-hit day out of the leadoff spot and drove in two runs, and Henry Ford also had a two-hit day and leads Baylor with five homers in his first year with the program.
Silverdale Baptist's Sebastian Hanks reached base all four times he went to the plate and hit his sixth homer of the season. However, Mack Whitcomb's blast in the third put the Red Raiders ahead for good against the Seahawks (15-2-1).
Baylor's Patrick Johnson made a great catch on a hard-hit ball to deep center field, and Amari Jefferson turned a double play on a screaming liner back at him in the bottom of the seventh. Whitcomb also threw out a pair of runners from behind the plate.
The Red Raiders have scored at least 10 runs or more in six games and will open a three-game region series with Chattanooga Christian School on Monday.
"There's a lot of power throughout this lineup. A lot of guys who can drive the baseball," Coach Elie said. "They have worked really hard this year to get where they are at with the bats. We just want them to keep working in their roles and keep us rolling."
CCS 10, Red Bank 4: Isaiah McKenzie had three hits and Keegan Nieckula drove in two runs for the Chargers, who stole nine bases in the road victory. CCS starter Will Henderson allowed one earned run in six innings, and reliever Luke Tinholt struck out two batters in a scoreless inning. Red Bank's Jasper Vandiver had three hits and Jack Barkeloo hit two doubles.
Bradley Central 10, McCallie 0: Cooper Casteel drove in three runs, and Memphis Flowers went 3-for-3 with a pair of runs and RBIs for the Bears, who received five scoreless innings from pitcher Alex Brew.
Sale Creek 7, Lookout Valley 1: Camden Penny and Jakob Elrod each homered as they combined for five RBIs. Elrod struck out seven in two innings of relief, and Penny picked up the win, allowing no earned runs in five innings.
Boyd Buchanan 8, Marion County 5: Brodie Lowe drove in three runs, and Brodie Johnson scored three times and stole two bases as the Buccaneers won.
Baylor 3, Northwest Whitfield 1: The Red Raiders picked up a strong win against another area power from Georgia as David Wang helped provide cushion in the 69th minute with the final score. Gui Gragnano and Riley Shankle each scored in the first half and Anthony Weekley had an assist for Baylor (8-1).
Walker Valley 7, Goodpasture 3: Madilyn Kidd stayed hot at the plate, hitting a home run and driving in three runs for the Lady Mustangs.
Compiled by Patrick MacCoon and Lindsey Young. Contact them at email@example.com.