Just six teams from 6-AAA qualified for the region's postseason and the region playoffs got started on Thursday as No. 4-seeded Ringgold hosted No. 5-seeded and Catoosa County rival LFO to see who would move on and whose season would come to an end.
The team moving on will be the Lady Tigers, who will get a chance to defend their state title after they swept the Lady Warriors in the first two games of the best-of-three series at Hazel Brown Field.
Ringgold 3, LFO 0
The two teams would keep each other at bay through the first five innings, but the Lady Tigers would finally break through in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Amber Gainer led off the inning with a single and stole second base before scoring on a Riley Nayadley double. Caroline Hemphill would provide some insurance by belting a two-run homer later in the frame.
That would be enough offense for pitcher Alyissa Sue. Sue enjoyed one of her best outings of the season by scattering six hits and one walk over seven innings and finishing with four strikeouts.
Gainer and Hemphill had two hits apiece. Gainer added a pair of stolen bases and Baileigh Pitts chipped in with a double.
Auna Rolfe and Britni Newbille had two hits each for LFO. One of Rolfe's hits was a double. Haley Stahl pitched six innings, allowing three earned runs and striking out three.
Ringgold 4, LFO 3
Trailing 4-1 going into their final at-bat, the Lady Warriors made things interesting, but came up just a run short in what turned out to be their final game of the season.
Ringgold, playing as the visiting team in the nightcap, got a two-out, RBI-single from Jade Gainer in the top of the first inning after Nayadley had kept the inning going with a two-out double.
The Blue-and-White would add to its lead in the top of the fourth inning as Sue came through with a two-out, two-run double.
LFO got the run back in the bottom of the fourth as Rolfe ripped a leadoff double before scoring on an RBI-single off the bat of Newbille.
Ringgold scored its fourth and final run of the game in the top of the seventh. Amber Gainer drew a one-out walk before swiping second base. She would take third on an error and scampered home on an RBI-single by Pitts.
LFO would cut the lead to one in the bottom of the seventh as Breonn Newbille laced a two-run single to score Stahl and Heidi Johnson, who led off the inning with singles. However, Newbille would be stranded at second as a liner was snared by Jade Gainer at third base to end the game and the series.
Pitts, Nayadley and Hemphill each had two hits for Ringgold, while Taylor Layne picked up the victory in the circle. She gave up nine hits in seven innings and walked four batters, but allowed just two earned runs.
LFO got seven innings from Stahl, who gave up four earned runs with two walks and three strikeouts. Stahl and Rolfe collected two hits apiece, while Carlee Wilson and Julie Shore added one hit each.
While the Lady Warriors' season came to an end with a 12-13 overall record, Ringgold (17-9) will have one more game in the region playoffs next Thursday, either at Rockmart or home against Adairsville. The No. 3-seeded Lady Jackets and No. 6-seeded Lady Tigers split the first two games of their three-game series on Thursday.
The winner of next Thursday's game will be the No. 3 seed for the state playoffs, while the loser will be the No. 4 seed. Both teams will open the state playoffs on the road.
No. 1-seeded Sonoraville and No. 2-seeded Coahulla Creek will play a three-game series to determine the region champion and the No. 1 seed for the state playoffs.