Ex­pe­ri­enced Tigers look­ing to con­tinue 6-AAA dom­i­nance

The Catoosa County News - - SPORTS - By Scott Herpst [email protected]

Per­haps no high school in the Tri-state area has been more dom­i­nant, con­sis­tently, than Ring­gold High School has been when it comes to base­ball.

The past achieve­ments of Ring­gold teams, dat­ing back to the early 1950’s, are painted on the out­side wall of the con­ces­sion stand/press­box build­ing to serve as in­tim­i­da­tion to op­pos­ing teams and re­minders to cur­rent Ring­gold play­ers of the tra­di­tion that hangs thick in the air over Bill Wo­mack Field.

For seven decades now, the Tigers have fielded re­gion and state con­tenders and the 2019 ver­sion of the Blue­and-white will be no ex­cep­tion.

Ring­gold, which was sched­uled to open its sea­son this past Mon­day at Ridge­land, is com­ing off a school-record 32-win sea­son that saw them win a fourth con­sec­u­tive Re­gion 6-AAA cham­pi­onship. They went a per­fect 18-0 in a tough re­gion and won three straight state play­off se­ries be­fore drop­ping two very close games at At­lanta pri­vate school power West­min­ster in the Class 3A state semi­fi­nals.

And while some key play­ers have grad­u­ated, plenty of fire­power re­mains on the ros­ter, along with some young, new faces, look­ing to make their mark on this sea­son’s squad.

“We grad­u­ated a lot of kids and we have a lot of kids re­turn­ing too,” head coach Brent Tucker said. “But those per­son­al­i­ties have got to blend and that’s prob­a­bly the key to our sea­son. We’ve got to get the fresh faces to blend in and un­der­stand what’s on that wall and what the ex­pec­ta­tions are. Once they fig­ure it out, and they will, they’ll be ready to go.

“You can go to one po­si­tion and we’re very ex­pe­ri­enced there. Then you can go to an­other po­si­tion and there’s no ex­pe­ri­ence there. But we hope af­ter our 15 non-re­gion games, they’ll all be ready to go.”

A se­nior class seven deep, in­clud­ing five col­lege signees and four re­turn­ing All-state play­ers, will an­chor this year’s club.

That se­nior class fea­tures cen­ter fielder An­dre Tarver, left fielder Holden Tucker and right fielder Wy­att Ten­nant. Tucker (All-state first team) and Ten­nant (sec­ond team) are two of the Tigers’ top re­turn­ing pitch­ers, while Tarver (first team, 2018 Un­der Ar­mour All-amer­i­can), will also see some time on the mound this sea­son. Ring­gold’s pri­mary catcher, Daulton Sch­ley - an­other first team All-state player - may also see some time at third base.

Caleb Stevens will play some at third base and fill a role as a des­ig­nated hit­ter. Johnny Camil­lucci will play first base and see some in­nings on the hill, while Owen Mcwhorter is re­turn­ing af­ter not play­ing last year. Mcwhorter will pitch and play some at sec­ond base, in ad­di­tion to other spots around the in­field.

Ju­nior Dy­lan Wright is re­cov­er­ing from an in­jury, but will see time in the out­field once he gets back to ac­tion. An­other vet­eran ju­nior is Bray­den Broome, who will man the short­stop po­si­tion. Jake Stock­burger (sec­ond base), Gage Fairchild (out­field), Caleb Roberts (third base) and Gavin Hames (first base) will round out the class.

“Some of those guys have played a lot and some don’t have a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence,” Tucker added, “but we’re go­ing to need them all to step up for us.”

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