After five straight rain-outs to start the 2018 season, the Ridgeland Panthers finally were able to open the campaign on Tuesday and did so in fine fashion, winning 9-5 at Dade County and snapping the Wolverines' season-opening five-game winning streak.
The Panthers (1-0) picked up a run in the top of the first as Riley Harrison doubled and scored on a Tanner Hill RBI-single.
Dade County (5-1) would respond with three runs on two hits and two walks in the bottom half of the second inning as they chased Ridgeland starter Dylan Wooten. Seth Pitts would enter in a quick relief appearance to get out of the inning without further damage.
But Ridgeland would get the runs back in the top of the third. With two outs, Harrison singled and Wooten drew a walk. Hill ripped another RBI-single and Jordan Tucker drove in both Wooten and Hill to give his team a 4-3 lead.
Hill would take the hill to start the bottom of the third and would pitch the next three innings, while also helping himself at the plate with a fifth-inning two-run homer to also score Terrance Roberts, who reached on a walk.
The Wolverines got the two runs back in the home half of the frame on two walks and a throwing error, but Hill would settle down to escape the jam and keep Ridgeland in the lead, 6-5.
Then in the top of the seventh, Harrison provided the insurance as he followed a Wooten single and a Hill double with a three-run bomb to left field. Harrison also pitched the final two innings to record a six-out save, the last three coming on strikes in the seventh.
Hill was 4-for-4 and Harrison went 3-3 in the win. Hill picked up the pitching victory.
"We told the guys during the first practice that we didn’t have homerun hitters on the team and we needed to focus on hitting the ball hard in the gaps," head coach Scott Harden said. "They must have took that as a challenge and are trying to show me otherwise."
Ridgeland is scheduled to play again on Wednesday at Armuchee at 5:55 p.m. The Panthers will face LFO at 11 a.m. on Saturday at AT&T Field in Chattanooga.