RINGGOLD, Ga. — There was an obvious air of frustration at Ringgold's Bill Womack Field after Wednesday night's doubleheader split with Cherokee Bluff in the first round of the GHSA Class AAA playoffs.
A handful of baseballs can attest to the fact that frustration has been vented.
The Tigers belted four home runs, two by senior center fielder Andre Tarver, and had nine extra-base hits while routing the visitors 16-1 in four innings Thursday to advance to the second round. Ringgold (27-7), the Region 6 champion, will host Region 8 No. 3 seed Hart County in a doubleheader next Thursday to start to their best-of-three series.
"We had some very nice approaches at the plate," Ringgold coach Brent Tucker said. "We weren't trying to pull outside pitches; we stayed over the ball and drove the baseball into the gaps. We absolutely wore it out to the center of the field tonight. We drove the ball, had extra-base hits and were aggressive on the bases."
Tucker's Tigers, who squandered several scoring opportunities in Wednesday's eight-inning 2-1 loss, took off Thursday behind Tarver. The Mississippi State University recruit hit a two-out solo homer to right-center to start the scoring in the first inning, with senior catcher Daulton Schley following suit on the next pitch from Cherokee Bluff starter Chandler Shope for a 2-0 lead.
The lead was five after three innings thanks to RBI hits from Holden Tucker in the second inning and Johnny Camillucci and Mason Parker in the second. The roof then truly caved in on the Bears (16-15) of Region 7.
The Tigers sent 15 batters to the plate in the fourth, scoring 11 runs on 10 hits. Tarver had a two-run homer and a two-run double in the frame, while Brayden Broome added a two-run homer, Wyatt Tennant a triple and Camillucci two of his four hits.
Camillucci benefited from the outburst and earned the win with four innings of one-run, two-hit pitching.
"I wish I could bottle up the attitude from tonight," Tucker said. "It was real quiet before the game, but once the game started the dugout was up, the energy was up. There was just a different look on their faces."
» Also in Class AAA, Region 6 No. 3 seed Coahulla Creek lost 3-0 to North Hall in the deciding game of a first-round series in Gainesville. The Colts ended their season 12-15.
» In Class A public, Trion joined the northwest Georgia victory parade with a first-round sweep of visiting Miller County, winning 10-0 and 12-0.
Brier Ingle had three hits and drove in six runs to lead the way to the mercy-rule victories. The 11th-seeded Bulldogs (15-9), who had 20 hits in 10 innings, will travel to sixth-seeded Clinch County, which borders the Florida line, in next week's second round.
Colt Trammell knocked in four runs and scored four times, Andy Allen drove in four runs and Hagen Willingham scored four runs and drove in a pair to help produce the sweep.
Logan Bicknell was the winning pitcher in the opener with seven strikeouts and two hits allowed, while Blaine Woody gave up four hits and struck out four to earn the win in the second game.