After an up-and-down regular season, the Ringgold Tigers were on upset alert entering the first round of the GHSA Class AAA baseball playoffs against Hart County.
The host Tigers, though, came from behind Friday to win game one of the best-of-three series 6-3 on Ross Norman's fifth-inning grand slam, then used stellar relief pitching in game two to complete the sweep with a 4-2 victory.
Ringgold (20-12), which will play at Harlem in the second round next week, trailed 2-1 in the fifth inning of the opening game when Conner Christopher made it a one-run game with a sacrifice fly. Brady Hermann singled and Mason Parker followed with a walk to load the bases before Norman unleashed his game-turning slam.
Robbie Bates made the runs hold up, going all seven innings while allowing two earned runs on seven hits.
Norman got things going in game two with an RBI single in the fourth inning, with Ty Gilbert following with a run-scoring single to make it 2-0. The Bulldogs (15-15) tightened things up with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, but it could have been worse for the Tigers if not for reliever Mason Burt.
Burt inherited runners on second and third with no one out and a run in to cut Ringgold's lead to 3-1. Burt, however, ended the threat by inducing a groundout, a pop-up and another groundout. Burt, after a run scored on a passed ball in the sixth to make it a one-run game, got another groundout to end that threat.
Mason Parker pitched a perfect seventh with two strikeouts to earn the save.
Sonoraville 6-13, Oconee County 2-8: In another Class AAA playoff series, the Phoenix (22-7) went on the road and pounded out 11 hits in each game to advance. Jaxon Pate had six hits in the two contests and drove in seven runs, including a 4-for-4, five-RBI showing in game two. Trevor Childers allowed four hits and an earned run while striking out seven batters in game one, with Zach Lyles adding two hits and two RBIs.
Sonoraville scored eight runs in the first inning, but the Warriors tied it with five runs in the fifth before the Phoenix pulled away with four in the bottom half. Dawson Townsend and Childers had two hits and an RBI each in game two, with Lyles adding two RBIs and two runs scored.
Franklin County 12-4, Coahulla Creek 0-2: In AAA, the Colts were unable to pull off a road upset, ending their season at 13-16.
Gordon Lee 11-4, Towns County 1-2: In Class A public, the host Trojans (20-10) started their sweep at Claud Hendrix Field with a nine-run second inning, more than enough runs for pitcher Bo Rhudy, who allowed three hits and struck out 13 batters in the five-inning game. Brodie Genter went 3-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored, with Nate Dunfee, Tanner Wilson and Holt Roberts each adding two hits and combining to drive in five runs.
Wilson starred in game two, going 2-for-3 with an RBI at the plate while also going the distance on the mound and allowing five hits and one earned run with seven strikeouts. Dunfee started the scoring with a third-inning RBI triple and made it 2-0 by scoring on an error on the play.
Trion 3-3, Social Circle 2-9: In Class A public, Cayden Watson's RBI single gave the Bulldogs a walk-off win in game one, but the visitors took control of game two quickly with five first-inning runs en route to a split. Game three will be played Saturday in Trion.
Down 2-1 entering the seventh inning in game one, Trion (16-11) started its rally with a Brantley Willbanks leadoff double. Brody Brown followed with a tying single and took second on the throw home. After Brandon Dover was intentionally walked, Watson delivered the winning single.
Lucas Langley started game two for Social Circle (22-10) with a three-run homer in the first inning.
Wesleyan 16-15, Christian Heritage 1-3: In Class A private, the Lions' season ended at 7-19 at the hands of the Wolves (27-4).
Silverdale Baptist 12, Notre Dame 7: In TSSAA competition, despite being outhit and committing eight errors, the Seahawks rallied to win thanks to a six-run sixth inning. Bryson Cline had two hits and two RBIs to lead Silverdale Baptist. Jacob Eargle had three hits and two RBIs for Notre Dame.
McMinn County 7, McCallie 5: Ty Barnett pitched six strong innings, striking out six batters for the win, and Jace Hyde had three hits and Ollie Akens three RBIs for the Cherokees. Ralston Welch drove in a pair of runs for the Blue Tornado.
Hixson 13, CGLA 0: Savannah Martin tossed a three-inning no-hitter for the shutout of Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy and Zoie Sullivan drove in two runs.
Soddy-Daisy 2, Rhea County 1: Luke Cabe and David Lopez each scored a goal, and Jensen Harbaugh assisted on both for the Trojans, who outshot Rhea 8-7. Noah Blue made six saves in the win.
McCallie 7, MBA 0: The Blue Tornado, No. 1 nationally in the Universal Tennis rankings, improved to 11-0 this season with the nonregion win aginst Montgomery Bell Academy. Andreas Sillaste won at No. 1 singles and teamed with Colin Tuttle for a win in No. 1 doubles to lead McCallie. Will Leathers and Gabe Getz also won individual singles matched and combined for a doubles win.
The Tennessee Sports Writers Association announced its bowling all-state teams Friday with three Chattanooga athletes earning recognition on the boys' squads. Hixson's Cameron Compton was honored in Division I, while Boyd Buchanan's Caleb Kelley and McCallie's David Benefield were chosen in D-II.
Compiled by Stephen Hargis and Lindsey Young. Contact them at email@example.com.