However, Adairsville has been unable to breakthrough and barely came up short once again Thursday night by a score of 5-4 at home against Ringgold, one of three teams tied atop the standings.
“We just want one of them to go our way, that way we can go on a run,” Adairsville head coach Billy Roper said. “That’s just the way baseball is. We are a win or two away from being in the fight with them up top. We’ve been right there with them every game, we just need to find a way to win those ballgames.”
The Tigers are now 5-7 in region and are two games back of fourth place.
Early in the game, it appeared Adairsville may pull the upset. Cody Melton and Sean McDermott each hit solo home runs in the bottom of the first inning to give the Tigers an early 2-0 advantage.
McDermott hit another deep flyball to right field in his second at bat. This time, Ringgold right fielder Garrett Yates made a leaping catch at the wall to record the out. Still, Tristin Smith was able to score from third base on the sacrifice fly after reaching on a walk and advancing on two pitches in the dirt.
The three-run lead held up through five innings as Melton continued his stretch of strong outings. The senior pitcher allowed just two hits and no runs through five to go along with five strikeouts.
He did not begin the sixth inning well, however, walking the first batter he faced. A wild pitch allowed the baserunner to advance to second, and Roper elected to intentionally walk Ringgold’s Slade Dale to put runners on first and second with no outs.
Melton was then relieved by McDermott, who walked the first batter he faced to load the bases. Ringgold’s Zach Morris then stepped up to the plate and got a hold of a high fastball, which he drove over the left-field fence for a grand slam.
Just like that, Adairsville’s three-run lead became a one-run Ringgold lead.
“Cody Melton came out and pitched his tail off. I made the move to go to the next guy and I’d do it again,” Roper said. “[Morris’ home run] almost went foul, but baseball is a game of inches. It just went their way.”
The Tigers managed to tie the game in the sixth when a Hunter Smith suicide squeeze attempt hit him with the bases loaded. The run was set up by two base hits to begin the inning by Tyler Washington and Melton. Tristin Smith followed with a well-placed sacrifice bunt and McDermott was intentionally walked to load the bases.
McDermott then threw a scoreless seventh inning to bring the game into extra innings.
“That’s who we are at Adairsville,” Roper said of his team’s persistence in coming back to tie the game after the grand slam. “We fight until the end.”
Ringgold was able to retake the lead in the eighth inning when Brandon Dycus led off the inning with a single. Dycus stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch to put a runner on third base with no outs.
McDermott struck out the next batter he faced, but Ringgold’s next batter laid down a squeeze bunt to bring home Dycus and retake the lead.
Adairsville was unable to mount a rally in the bottom of the inning and Ringgold escaped with the victory.
“The effort of our guys, I can’t ask them to do any more than they did,” Roper said. “My pitchers have done this all year. A team that’s fighting for the region, we held them to five hits. The four runs came on one swing.”
Sonoraville 3, Cartersville 1
Heading into Thursday’s game, the Cartersville baseball team had control of its own destiny and was sitting in sole possession of first place.
However, the Canes were unable to take care of business at Sonoraville and fell by a score of 3-1 to the Phoenix for the second time this season.
Cartersville got on the board in the first inning when a two-out rally loaded the bases for Garrett Rutledge. Rutledge was hit by a pitch to score Elliott Anderson, who reached on a single earlier in the inning.
That would be all the runs Cartersville would score in the game as Sonoraville’s Drew Wilson pitched a complete-game three-hitter.
Cartersville’s Hunter Osborn also pitched well and did not allow a run through his first 5 2/3 innings.
Sonoraville was able to get to him in the sixth inning, however, and put together a two-out rally to score one run. The Phoenix strung together a walk, double and single to tie the game.
Sonoraville would then win the game on a walk-off, two-run home run by Zach Collum.
Cartersville is now in a three-way tie with Ringgold and Sonoraville for first place in Region 5-AAA with two games remaining.