After a delay of several days, the 2021 NGAC baseball tournament finals finally got underway on Friday night and it will take a third game to decide to a champion.
Host and top-seeded Ringgold won a wild one in the opener before the second-seeded Bulldogs evened the best-of-three series with a more conventional victory in the nightcap.
Game 3 had been scheduled for Saturday at 11 a.m., but the game had to be postponed. It was announced on Saturday afternoon that Game 3 would be played at 5 p.m. on Thursday back at Ringgold.
Ringgold 12, Trion 9
The visiting Bulldogs scored two runs on three hits in the top of the first inning, only to see the homestanding Tigers tie things up in the bottom of the inning, thanks to three walks, two passed balls and two wild pitches. Jackson Black would plate a run with an RBI-single before later scoring on a passed ball.
Ringgold went on to score the next six runs of the game with a pair of three-run innings. Black and Logan Bramlett had RBIs in the second, while Haddon Fries scored on a wild pitch on what should have been strike three to end the inning. Black and Bramlett, along with Logan Moore, came through with RBIs in the third.
Trion battled back with three runs in the top of the fifth. Ethan Willingham and Jake Dawson delivered back-to-back, one-out, RBI-doubles, while Dawson later stole third and scored on a wild pitch to cut Ringgold's lead to 8-5.
However, the Tigers used two errors and a walk to load the bases in the bottom of the inning and they eventually scored three runs, including an RBI-single off the bat of Braylee Raby to push the lead back to 11-5.
Trion got the three runs right back in the top of the sixth as they loaded the bases on a hit batter, an error and a walk. Stokes was credited with an RBI-double in the frame.
Both teams tacked on solo runs in their final at-bats. Bramlett had an RBI-single for Ringgold in the bottom of the sixth and Dillard Stricklin came through with an RBI-hit for Trion in the top of the seventh.
Black finished 3 for 4 with three RBIs, while Bramlett had three RBIs with just one hit. Fries finished with two hits and three runs scored, and Moore also ended the game with a pair of runs driven in.
Bramlett pitched 4.1 innings, allowing five earned runs on eight hits with seven strikeouts, while Black threw the final 2.2 innings. He gave up three hits and struck out four.
Dawson and Logan Stokes each had two hits for Trion, while Kade Smith started on the mound and took the loss.
Trion 8, Ringgold 1
Fries singled and later scored on a two-out error in the top of the first for Ringgold, but it was one of just three hits the Tigers could muster in the nightcap as the Bulldogs scored twice in the second, four times in the fourth and twice more in the sixth to pull away.
Stokes, Dawson and Jacob James all had two hits for Trion. James and Dawson had two RBIs each, while Stokes accounted for one RBI. James also struck out 10 batters in seven innings of work.
Eli Crew and Rhett Blankenship also had singles for Ringgold. Black pitched three innings of five-hit ball, allowing three earned runs with four strikeouts. Garrett Edgar also pitched three innings, giving up three earned runs on three hits with three strikeouts.