Ringgold Tigers

Imagine winning your region, expecting perhaps a somewhat easier draw in the first round of state playoffs against a No. 4 seed, only to find out that that opponent just happens to be the two-time defending state champions.

That was the position Franklin County found itself in on Wednesday night as the Ringgold Lady Tigers rolled into Carnesville for a first-round matchup in the Class AAA state tournament.

Ringgold, who was also the No. 4 seed from Region 6 last season when it won its way to Columbus last season, proved that they hadn't forgotten how it was done as they swept the Lady Lions to move on to the Round of 16.

The Lady Tigers (20-8) will go on the road next week to Region 2 runner-up Jackson (19-6) for a second-round match-up with a berth in Columbus awaiting the winner.

Ringgold 3, Franklin County 1

The Lady Lions scored in the bottom of the second and held a 1-0 lead through five innings.

But that would change in the top of the sixth as Ava Raby doubled and Maddy Bacon drew a walk to set the table for Addi Broome. The senior first baseman delivered a two-run double to left field to bring in Bacon and courtesy runner Hannah Scott with the tying and go-ahead runs.

Then in the seventh, Raby was hit with a pitch with two outs. Riley Burdette followed up with a single, and Scott - back into the game to run - raced home on an error to give the Lady Tigers an insurance run.

The extra run, however, would not be needed as Aubrey Lakin twirled a three-hit gem. Lakin walked three batters and gave up just the one earned run over seven innings. Only one Franklin County hitter reached base after the second inning and that runner did not advance any further than first base.

Broome finished 2 for 3 with a pair of doubles. Riley Heard was 2 for 4, while Baileigh Pitts and Autumn Green each had a single.

Ringgold 8, Franklin County 5

The Lady Tigers, playing as the home team in the nightcap, got a two-out RBI-single from Raby in the bottom of the first. However, the Lady Lions plated five runs in the top of the third to take the lead as they looked to extend the series to Game 3 on Thursday.

But Ringgold apparently had other plans for Thursday did not involve staying in Carnesville.

The comeback began as the Lady Tigers put up three runs in the fourth inning. Broome came through with an RBI-single and Green knocked in a run on a fielder's choice. Later, following an error, Broome scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Heard to cut Franklin County's lead to 5-4.

Then in the sixth, the first six Ringgold hitters reached base with four singles, a walk and an error. Zoey DeFoor brought in two runs with a single, while two more scored on a very costly Franklin County error.

The Lady Lions put two on base with two outs in the top of the seventh inning to bring the tying run to the plate. However, Bacon would get the final hitter on a flyout to center to end the game and the series.

The junior pitcher battled through seven innings, giving up four earned runs on seven hits. She walked five hitters, but also struck out five.

DeFoor went 3 for 3, while Broome collected two more hits to finish the series 4 for 6. Heard, Pitts and Green also had singles in Game 2.

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

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