Ringgold Tigers

In terms of game scenarios, the first round of the Class AAA state playoffs couldn't have gone any better for the Ringgold Tigers.

The Tigers dealt with two completely different styles of games on Thursday, but the results turned out to be the same as Ringgold swept the Spartans of West Hall to punch their ticket to the second round.

In that second round, Ringgold (25-6) will play host to the Patriots of Sandy Creek (19-11), the No. 3 seed from Region 5, who picked up 7-4 and 2-1 wins over Region 8 runner-up Oconee County to advance.

The first two games of the series will played in a doubleheader on Tuesday, with Game 3, if needed, to be played on Wednesday back at Bill Womack Field.

Ringgold 9, West Hall 0

Kenyon Ransom continued an All-State caliber season on the mound by scattering three hits over six innings in the Game 1 win. Ransom struck out four batters and walked just one. He also went 1 for 1 at the plate and drew three walks.

Colin Mountjoy pitched an inning of relief and struck out one batter.

Mason Parker had three hits, including a double, and drove in one run. McCain Mangum and Eli Norris both had doubles as part of their two hits. They also drove in two runs apiece, while Sam Mills had one hit, collected two walks and recorded an RBI.

Ringgold 7, West Hall 5

The Tigers trailed 2-0 and 5-2 in the nightcap, but erased both deficits to finish off the first-round sweep.

After giving up a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning, Ringgold - playing as the visiting team in Game 2 - used some two-out magic to tie the game in the top of the third. Mangum banged an RBI-double off the top of the wall in centerfield before Mountjoy followed up with a solid single to center to bring in his teammate with the tying run.

West Hall answered with three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, but they gave two of the runs right back in the top of the fifth. Mangum drew a two-out walk and Mountjoy was hit by a pitch before a very costly Spartan error allowed both runners to score, cutting West Hall's lead to 5-4.

The Spartans took the one-run advantage into the top of the seventh and got the first out of the inning. However, they misplayed a shallow pop-up and Mountjoy made them pay dearly with a two-run, line-drive homer to center to put the Tigers in front for the first time.

Austin McMahan was hit by a pitch and Ross Norman and Norris both drew walks to load the bases before pinch-runner Dawsyn Ware raced home on a wild pitch to add an insurance run.

West Hall made things interesting in the bottom of the seventh with a walk and a single to lead off the inning. Parker, in to pitch the seventh, got a strikeout, but an infield error nearly spelled disaster one batter later. However, the Tigers were able to throw out a Spartan runner at the plate at the end of the play to preserve the two-run lead and Parker got the final batter swinging to end the game.

Mountjoy finished 2 for 3 and drove in three of the Tigers' runs. Mills, McMahan and Norris also added singles for the Tigers.

Parker got the save, while Chase Ghormley started and battled for six innings to collect a win. He surrendered five runs, though none of them were earned as the Tigers committed six errors. Ghormley gave up six hits, but did not walk a batter and finished with six strikeouts.

Scott Herpst is sports editor for the Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga., and Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga.

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