RINGGOLD, Ga. -- The fans filling the visiting bleachers at Bill Womack Field rose to their feet as one, cheering their team on late in game two of the GHSA Class AAA first-round baseball playoff doubleheader Friday.
There was little drama on this day, however. The standing ovation followed a rare 1-2-3 defensive inning for the Lanier Longhorns, who moments later had their own quick at-bat to close out five-inning 11-1 and 14-4 losses to the host Ringgold Tigers. The Tigers rapped out 32 hits, including seven home runs and six doubles.
"We hit the ball all day and kept the pressure on them," said Ringgold coach Brent Tucker, whose 23-4 team will host the winner of the Cairo/Howard series in the second round next Wednesday. "The break did us good. We were a tired bunch last week, and it allowed us to freshen up a little bit.
"The guys are fired up to be playing here this year. People understand we can swing it a little bit, and we want everyone to know we play well here at home."
The Tigers actually went scoreless in the opening two innings against a 15-12 Lanier team making its postseason debut in its second year of existence. However, once the Ringgold bats warmed up, the avalanche began with five runs in the third as Corey Kafka and Alan Mocahbee began their personal onslaughts.
The two combined to go 13-for-13 with six homers -- three each -- and 15 RBIs, their first long balls coming in that third inning.
"We were ready for this today," said Kafka, who was the beneficiary of the runs in game one with a nine-strikeout two-hitter. "We weren't real sure about their pitching, but we had a great round of batting practice before the game and it carried over.
"Every time we come out here we know it could our last time to play, so we want to make the best of it. It was just one after another today, and once we get going downhill you can't stop this team from hitting."
Kafka added a two-run homer in the fourth and leadoff hitter Slade Dale, who was 3-for-4, had a two-run double in the fifth to help close out the first game.
Kafka began game two with a two-run homer as the Tigers sent 10 batters to the plate in building a quick 6-0 lead. Mocahbee followed with a solo shot and later added a sacrifice fly, an RBI single and a three-run shot that capped the scoring in the fourth.
"It was the first round of the playoffs so we wanted to come out ready to play," Mocahbee said. "We all felt comfortable at the plate today, so the first good pitch we were swinging at it. We just wanted to build off each other."
Dale had four hits and scored five runs, Austin Parrish had five hits, Adam Weldon had four in the second game and Andy Mocahbee blasted a long two-run homer in game one. Weldon was the second winning pitcher, allowing two earned runs and scattering seven hits.
n In another Class AAA series, Gainesville (27-0) beat Heritage 8-4 and 7-2. In Class AA, Region 7 champion Calhoun swept Elbert County, 15-4 and 13-7; Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe lost 8-3 and won 11-5 at third-ranked North Oconee; and Coahulla Creek was swept at Hart County, 4-1 and 11-0.
n In Class A, Gordon Lee split at Lincoln County, winning 4-1 behind Conard Broom's four-hitter. Adam Vandiver had four hits, while Daniel Brooks and Cody Wilson had two each. Tanner Sexton had two hits and two RBIs, and Bryce Bailey had a pair of hits in game two. The deciding game will start today at noon.
Contact Lindsey Young at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 423-757-6296.
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...