A year after missing the state playoffs, the Ringgold Lady Tigers are just one victory away from a date in the Sweet 16.
Ringgold, the No. 3 seed from Region 6, made the drive to scenic Dahlonega on Friday and split a pair of games against Region 7 runner-up Lumpkin County, winning 7-4 in extra innings before a 5-2 loss in the second game.
Game 3 is slated to start at 1 p.m. on Saturday, back at Lumpkin County.
In Game 1, after failing to score with the bases loaded in each of the first two innings, the Lady Tigers finally broke through as Baileigh Pitts hammered a two-run homer in the top of the fourth give her team a 2-1 lead.
The Lady Indians rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the inning, but Ringgold would regain the lead a half-inning later. Autumn Green drove in Caroline Hemphill with a sacrifice fly and Brooklyn Keith would score moments later on a Lumpkin County error.
Ringgold would maintain the two-run lead going into the bottom of the seventh, but a one-out walk would set the table for Evee Dornhecker, who stunned Ringgold with a two-run homer to tie the game.
But the tie would only be temporary as Ringgold erupted for three runs in the top of the eighth inning. Pitts singled and scored on a Riley Nayadley double. Jade Gainer would follow up with an RBI-single and a Hemphill bunt single would drive in the seventh run.
Starting pitcher Kaylee Phillips would polish off the complete-game victory by retiring the side in order in the bottom of the eighth. She finished the game allowing four earned runs on nine hits and four walks, while finishing with four strikeouts.
Keith went 4-for-5 to pace the offense. Pitts had three hits in four at-bats and scored twice, while Nayadley and Hemphill had two hits each.
Game 2 saw the Lady Indians - playing as the visiting team - strike for four runs in the top of the first before a single out was recorded. The first six batters reached base on two walks, an error, two singles and a double.
Ava Raby would get a run back in the bottom of the first on a solo homerun and Keith would send the first pitch of the fifth inning over the fence to answer a solo shot by Lumpkin County in the top half of the inning.
Nayadley had the only other two hits in the game for Ringgold (16-17). Taylor Layne took the loss in the circle. She threw 1.2 innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits and four walks with one strikeout. Taylor Thomas pitched 5.1 strong innings of relief, allowing just the one run on two hits with one walk.
The winner of Saturday's game will head to Jefferson for Round 2. The Lady Dragons, the champions of Region 8 and the No. 3-ranked team in Class 3A, blanked Cedar Grove in the first round, 15-0 and 12-0.