By Misty Martin
The Ringgold baseball team edged visiting Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe, 8-7, on Friday, April 19 to clench the No. 2 spot in Region 5-AAA.
Ringgold run-ruled the Warriors 10-0 on April 2. However, this matchup came down to the final pitch.
The never-say-day Warriors scored three runs on five hits in the seventh inning before Austin Parrish struck out the last batter with the game-winning run on second base.
Parrish came in to relieve starter Gabe Rich in the seventh.
Tucker said “LFO came in with fire,” and it was good to get the job done.
“I think we were feeling a little bit of pressure knowing we were going to clench second with a win,” he said. “They were fighting to get in the playoffs. We gave them a few early with errors and kept them in the ball game. In the bottom of the sixth, we had a nice RBI by Chase Burke and a simple groundball at shortstop gets the runner in at third. Then Brandon Dycus had a big two-out RBI. Then back in the third inning, they went ahead 4-1 after we made some errors and we answered right back with two outs.”
Tucker said he was extremely proud of his pitchers.
“Gabe Rich did an excellent job tonight,” he said. “He changed the momentum of the game throwing strikes and throwing well. That’s probably the best I’ve seen him throw. I probably pulled him too early in the last inning, but wanted to go ahead and make that change ... you have to tip your hat to LFO. They battled all the way through the game. Austin is a dang good pitcher and they had some clutch hits in the end.”
The Ringgold defense also pulled through when it had to. With two runs scored, no outs and the bases loaded, Kevin Ingle back-handed a line drive hit by Dusty Melford down the line. He tagged third base and threw to first for the double play.
Bradley Travis hit a shot to left centerfield on the following play to score the seventh run.
Tucker said Ingle has been a huge part of the infield all year.
“Kevin Ingle is Mr. steady,” he said. “He’s played a very steady third base.”
LFO head coach Johnny Burch said he was disappointed with the loss. But he said after LFO scored its first run on an RBI by Melford in the first inning, he could see his team “wanted it.”
“We saw something in their eyes that has been lacking at times this year,” he said. “I believe if we bring that effort and intensity to the ballpark every day we would be in a much different situation than we’re in right now.”