The Ridgeland Panthers put up a fight in Tunnel Hill on Tuesday night, but eventually dropped a 3-1 decision to Northwest Whitfield in the first game of a three-game Region 7-AAAA series.
The Panthers took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning. Chris Maddeaux reached base on a dropped third strike. He was forced out at second on a fielder's choice off the bat of Austyn Acuff. However, Acuff would steal second with two outs before scoring on a single to left by Isaac Pitts.
Ridgeland would maintain its advantage into the fifth inning when the Bruins took the lead for good. Two walks, including one with the bases loaded, along with three singles did the trick. Aiden Hosford had the big hit with a clutch two-out, two-run single to break a 1-1 tie.
The Panthers got a runner to second base in the seventh and had the tying run at the plate, but were unable to score any more runs.
Curtis Wells pitched six solid innings for Ridgeland. He gave up seven hits and two walks and allowed three earned runs, while finishing with four strikeouts. Cade Fisher fanned 13 batters for the Bruins.
Northwest (19-6, 9-4) will travel to Rossville to face Ridgeland (3-16, 2-11) in a doubleheader on Friday. The first pitch of Game 1 will be at 5 p.m.