Note: This story was corrected at 9:07 a.m. on Friday, April 23, to correct the name of the Ringgold baseball coach.
Fresh from the bottom of his team's dogpile after pitching a masterpiece to help Ringgold win its sixth straight Region 6-AAA title, Kenyon Ransom was still buzzing with joy.
The 6-foot-4 lanky right-hander had just dominated his school's biggest rival in an 8-0 home win over Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe Thursday's with a steady diet of mid-80's fastballs, sharp breaking sliders and curveballs.
Ransom operated like a well-oiled machine on the mound where he worked quickly and ahead in the count with standout senior catcher Sam Mills, who was trusted by coaches to call pitches himself throughout the game. Through the first five innings Ransom did not even have allow a two-ball count. He went on to strike out 11 while allowing just four hits and zero walks in a complete game effort on a special night in front of friends and family.
"There is no doubt this is my favorite moment playing for Ringgold," said Ransom, who threw 65 of his 84 pitches for strikes on his birthday as well as senior night for eight Tigers. "For me to throw this well on a special night with my teammates, it just really means a lot to me. We have been working our tails off every single day."
For a legacy player — whose older brother Jordan (Class of 2015) had great success for Ringgold before playing for Cleveland State and Kentucky State — Ransom has been lights-out all season for a shutdown pitching staff that also features Colin Mountjoy, Chase Ghormley and Eli Norris.
Despite playing center field exclusively as a sophomore Ransom leads the team with 61 strikeouts and also leads with 45 innings pitched. His elite command has helped him only allow 28 hits and five walks to garner a 1.40 earned run average.
"The success wasn't built this year. These guys have been busting it since last June and Kenyon has been that dude to lead all throughout the offseason," Ringgold coach Drew Walker said. "He is a beast. He has stayed process driven this whole time and not worried about the results.
"He has worked and worked on his lower body strength and bought into the performance on the back side and being pretty on the front side. His work has showed because he's gained 10 miles an hour in velocity in less than two years. He's one of a lot of great guys this team has."
The Tigers (22-6) have demoralized many foes of late as they are on a seven game win streak and have now won 18 of their last 19 games on the way to a perfect 14-0 mark in the region, which they have owned for quite a while.
Senior Eli Norris delivered with a two-run double as a part of his two-hit performance, while McCain Mangum shot a two-run single past shortstop as well.
Sophomore third baseman Ross Norman was sharp with the glove and drove in the game's first run in the second to jump-start a five-run inning. Norman is batting .632 with 15 RBIs and four extra base hits over Ringgold's last seven games.
"Before we take a prayer and hit the field, coach always tells us we are more determined and prepared than the other team," Ransom said. "We have the potential to be the first state champions in school history and we are going to continue to work to get there."
Contact Patrick MacCoon at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PMacCoon.