RINGGOLD, Ga. — For the second consecutive round of the GHSA baseball state playoffs, Ringgold will have to play a second day in order to advance in the Class AAA bracket.
This week, though, the extra day is courtesy of an early-evening thunderstorm that hit the area Wednesday after the Tigers had won game one of their second-round series against Hart County 5-4. Game two was scoreless in the bottom of the second inning with two outs when lightning caused action to halt.
The teams will return to play today at 3 at Bill Womack Field.
Ringgold (28-7) won the opener on an Andre Tarver walk-off double after the visitors had overcome a 4-2 deficit with two runs in the sixth. The game featured an odd, sloppy start for the Tigers that included allowing two unearned runs and having a runner called out for missing home plate after Tarver's first-inning home run.
"Very unusual game; really at a loss for words to describe some of it," Ringgold coach Brent Tucker said. "But, to overcome that adversity and to battle through and battle through to pull it out says a lot."
The Tigers were up 1-0 and had a courtesy runner on first after a Holden Tucker single when Tarver launched his third postseason homer to right field. However, instead of leading 3-0, one run was taken off after the courtesy runner was ruled to have missed the plate.
That run became critical in the sixth with a 4-2 Ringgold lead when Hart County's Chase Dalton hit a two-run homer off Holden Tucker to tie the game. The senior, though, sat down the next six batters on strikes.
"I'm proud of the way Holden stayed in there and fought," Coach Tucker said. "That's being a senior and just bearing down. He left a changeup over the middle and they hit it out, but again, he didn't get rattled and wasn't going to let them get any more."
Hart County starter Casey Tallent was removed after getting the first out in the bottom of the seventh after reaching the pitch count limit. The Tigers quickly took advantage with a Wyatt Tennant single and Tucker walk. Tarver then followed with his game-winning double to left.
"You know, the last series he came up with runners on first and third one out in a tied ballgame and popped out," Coach Tucker said of Tarver. "Tonight he stayed on the first pitch and drove it to the opposite field. He's learned from the situations and adjusted."
Tucker said he would see how game two starter Tennant (1 2/3 innings, one hit) feels today before making a decision on who will be on the mound for the Tigers. A third game, if necessary, would also be played today, weather permitting.
» In Class AA, Dade County split a doubleheader to open its second-round series at Bremen, winning 6-5 and losing 8-3 on Wednesday as the host Blue Devils forced a decisive third game on Thursday.