The game lived up to the expectations as the Purple Hurricanes came back from a 4-0 deficit to defeat Ringgold, 5-4, which put them in the driver’s seat for the top seed in the region tournament.
“It’s huge, especially this late in region,” Cartersville head coach Stuart Chester said. “Just to be healthy and go out and produce at this time, it’s huge.
“I would like to be unbeaten in the region, but considering where we’re at, first place with three games left is a good situation.”
Brent Arnold played the role of hero in the sixth inning with a three-run homer to score Riley Richards and Garrett Rutledge to give the Canes a 5-4 advantage.
Ringgold took control of the game early and scored one run in the first inning and three more in the third.
However, Cartersville began to chip away at the lead in the fourth when Clifton Dempsey singled and came around to score on a wild pitch later in the inning.
The Canes would add another run in the fifth. Arnold walked to lead off the inning before a fielder’s choice and two more walks by Lane Wilson and Cameron Neal set the stage for sophomore Elliott Anderson. Anderson delivered a clutch two-out base hit to score Elliott Berrey from third and bring Cartersville within two runs.
The next inning was when Arnold delivered the blow to give the Canes the lead for good.
“It showed a lot of character and a lot of class, persistence,” Chester said of the comeback win. “You have to thank our schedule for a lot of that. You go out and play Brookwood, Collins Hill, Parkview, Marist and people like that, our guys have been in that situation before. They just stayed calm, kept their heads and did the little things they had to do to win.”
On the mound, Rutledge kept Cartersville close as he came on in relief and pitched 3 2/3 innings, allowed one hit, one run and struck out five.
Hunter Osborn closed the game out in the seventh with a perfect inning and a strikeout.
Dempsey led Cartersville with two hits in the game. He is now hitting .458 in region since being moved to the leadoff spot to begin April after a loss to Sonoraville.
Sonoraville handed Cartersville its lone region loss this season. The Canes will face the Phoenix again today on the road.
Cedartown 11, Cass 1
Cass started slowly but then the bottom fell out when Cedartown scored seven runs in the fourth inning as the Colonels fell 11-1 in the opening game of their three-game series.
The Colonels still need one victory to earn a No. 3 seed in their subregion with two games remaining against the Bulldogs.
Head coach Adam Williams credited Cedartown for earning a win when it most needed it.
“They came out and they played hard,” Williams said. “Cedartown has to sweep us to win a [sub]region championship. They came out and hit us in the mouth. We took every blow they had. If this was a boxing match, we would be undergoing surgery right now.”
But Williams said his team can still reach its goals if it performs well the next two games.
“We can’t lay around and get down and get sad,” he said. “We have to come back tomorrow. We told the kids we have the game plan. We just have to come out and execute it. We have to do better.”
The Bulldogs scored in the top of the first after drawing a base on balls. They moved to third when a throw to first went over Alex Yauslin’s outstretched glove for a two-base error, then home on a wild pitch.
Cedartown added a run in the second inning, then two runs in the top of the third to take a 4-0 lead.
Cass answered in the bottom of the frame after Chris Morton doubled his way on base with a shot to right field. Morton went home on a double by Caleb Black, who was tagged out at third trying to stretch the hit into a triple.
The Bulldogs blew the game open in the top of the fourth, scoring seven runs on six hits and taking a commanding 11-1 lead.
The Colonels moved a run into scoring position in the bottom of the fourth but ended up stranding him.
Cass batters didn’t get aboard the final frame.
The Bulldogs scored their 11 runs on 10 hits. Cass scored one run on four hits and was credited with three errors.
Williams said the Colonels have to find a way to bounce back now.
“Our kids did a good job on them, but when you get down 10 runs, you have to go out there with a different mindset,” he said. “We were on their pitching early. I credit Cedartown for coming out and being fired up and trying to win it on their own.”
He said as bleak as things might have looked Wednesday, it’s a new ballgame for Cass and he reminded them of what’s at stake.
“I challenged our guys. We do not need to limp into a crossover series. If we go in, we’ve got to go in hot,” he said. “That’s what tomorrow is all about. That’s why baseball is the greatest game ever. You get to get up and do it again tomorrow.
“We need some momentum going into the playoffs.”
Cedartown improved its record to 16-4 overall and 8-2 in its region.
Cass dropped to 7-13 overall and 5-5 in region play.
The two teams meet again today at Cedartown High. The game is scheduled for a 5:55 p.m. start. They play Friday at Cass. That game also is expected to start at 5:55 p.m.