RINGGOLD, Ga. — One team had little to gain and the other everything to lose, and after Ringgold's 10-0 five-inning baseball win Tuesday over Region 5-AAA foe Coahulla Creek, it was easy to see which squad had the most pressure on it.
The host Tigers (17-8, 10-4) already were locked into the No. 2 playoff spot, but the Colts (8-14, 5-8) still had postseason life heading into Tuesday. After committing four errors -- including three in an ugly bottom of the first inning -- and managing just two hits, Coahulla Creek lost its shot at making the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
For a loose Ringgold team, Tuesday's next-to-last playoff tuneup was good medicine after a roller-coaster week in which the bats went quiet. The Tigers rapped out 11 hits, including home runs by Slade Dale and Zach Morris, and turned two slick double plays to the delight of coach Brent Tucker.
"Last week we had an up-and-down week, but up until then we had won seven straight," said Tucker, whose team won the earlier game with the Colts 3-2. "We got our legs back under us this weekend and came out today and played a great ballgame. We squared the ball up well today, and up until last week that's the way we had been playing.
"We're trying to get some momentum going into the playoffs. and this definitely helps."
Senior right-hander Austin Parrish was the recipient of the run outburst, pitching all five innings and allowing just two fifth-inning hits. Offensively, Dale got things going from his new No. 2 batting slot with a solo homer in the first. Two hits and three errors later it was 3-0.
Sophomore first baseman Morris belted a three-run homer in the second inning after Dale had plated the game's fourth run on a double.
"This team is still growing and we're still trying to find our identity," said the ever-smiling Dale, who scored three runs. "We really don't know who the real starters are, but that's a good thing because everybody is still fighting to get in there. We have confidence going into the playoffs and we're hosting the first round, which is good."
Morris, Logan Baldwin and Parrish joined Dale with two hits each for the Tigers, who close their regular season with an interstate matchup with East Hamilton on Friday.
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 ...