After finally making it past the third round of the Class 3A state playoffs, the Ringgold Tigers' quest for a state championship ended on Tuesday one round short of the championship finals.
The Blue-and-White gave up runs in just two combined innings over two games, but the homestanding Westminster Wildcats - the 2016 Class 3A state champions - made those innings count as they swept Ringgold, 5-3 and 3-2, ending the Tigers' season with a stellar 29-8 record.
Westminster 5, Ringgold 3
Daulton Schley followed up an Andre Tarver two-out single with a two-run homer in the top of the first inning of the opener and the score would hold up until the bottom of the third when the Wildcats touched up the Tigers for five runs to grab the lead. Parks Harber and Jack Polhemus both came through with two-run doubles for the Wildcats.
Ringgold would push across a run in the top of the fifth. Brayden Broome led off the inning with a walk and Nathan Camp would bring him in with a clutch two-out, RBI-double later in the frame, but that would be all the runs they would muster in the Game 1 loss.
Luke Jannetta threw a complete game victory for Westminster. Holden Tucker pitched well, despite the loss. He gave up just two earned runs on four hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in six innings of work. Schley finished the game 3-for-3 and was the only Tiger with multiple hits.
Westminster 3, Ringgold 2
In a drizzly nightcap, the Wildcats - playing as the visiting team in Game 2 - broke open a scoreless tie with three runs in the top of the fifth.
The Tigers, who saw a chance to score in the bottom of the third inning thwarted, would respond with two runs in the home half of the inning. Ty Jones and Broome got back-to-back walks before Wyatt Tennant plated both runs with a hard-hit double. Camp would later draw a walk, but a questionable third strike call and a flyout would keep the Wildcats in front by one.
Tennant, who replaced Camp on the mound to start the sixth inning, escaped a bases loaded jam in the top of the sixth, but Ringgold would not threaten in their final two at-bats. The Tigers were set down in order in the sixth and they were unable to take advantage by a two-out walk by Johnny Camillucci in the seventh as Westminster got the final out to win the series.
Polhemus got the win for the Wildcats, while Camp was saddled with the loss. The senior scattered five hits in five innings, while allowing just one earned run. He walked four and fanned two. Tennant struck out three and walked four in two hitless, scoreless innings of relief.
Westminster (24-11), the Region 5 champions, will take on Lovett next week at Mercer University in Macon for the Class 3A state title. Lovett, who swept Morgan County in the other semifinal series, was the Region 5 runner-up.