Ridge­land to open play­offs in Car­roll­ton

Walker County Messenger - - Sports - By Scott Herpst

The Ridge­land Lady Pan­thers are headed back to the Class AAAA state play­offs, but to make it back to Colum­bus for a sec­ond straight sea­son, they’ll have to find ways to win in the road.

The Lady Pan­thers, the Re­gion 6-AAAA tour­na­ment’s No. 1 seed af­ter win­ning the reg­u­lar sea­son ti­tle, went 2-2 in Dal­ton and will be a No. 3 seed when the state play­offs open this week.

Ridge­land’s tour­na­ment got off to an in­aus­pi­cious start as they were roughed up by red-hot Her­itage, who pounded out 17 hits in 16-1 rout last Mon­day night.

The Lady Pan­thers man­aged just three hits - all sin­gles - against fresh­man pitcher Rachel Gib­son. The lone run came in the bot­tom of the first with Ridge­land al­ready down 3-0. Katie Davis drew a two-out walk, stole sec­ond and even­tu­ally came around to score on a sin­gle by Whit­ney Boehm. Laine Hicks and Grayson James had the only other hits.

Ridge­land punched its ticket to state on Tues­day with a 4-1 win over Pick­ens. Ciera Foster had three hits in the win. Boehm picked up a pair of RBIs, while Hicks and Davis both added one RBI. Hai­ley

Car­roll scat­tered six hits and struck out two in the win.

Later that night, they scored a 6-2 vic­tory over county ri­val LaFayette.

An RBI-triple by Ha­ley San­dridge and a ground-rule, RBI­dou­ble by Boehm staked Ridge­land to a 2-0 lead head­ing into the bot­tom of the fourth. LaFayette would rally to knot the game, but fresh­man Erin Hughes would give the Black-and-White the lead right back as

she led off the top of the fifth with her first ca­reer home run - a solo shot - and the Lady Pan­thers would go on to score four in the in­ning en route to the win.

Davis and Boehm each had two hits, while Davis picked up two RBIs.

Then on Wed­nes­day, sec­ond-seeded and top-ranked North­west Whit­field fi­nally pushed home a run in the bot­tom of the eighth in­ning to beat Ridge­land, 1-0, and elim­i­nate them from the tour­na­ment.

James and Foster had two of Ridge­land’s

five hits, while Katie Car­ruth had the other. All five hits were sin­gles.

Ridge­land turned a dou­ble play to quell a Lady Bru­ins threat in the bot­tom of the sev­enth, but failed to get a run home in the top of the eighth.

KayLeigh Fitzger­ald had a dou­ble for North­west in the eighth and moved to third on a sin­gle by Syd­ney Horne. A passed ball would al­low Fitzger­ald to race home with the win­ning run.

Car­roll pitched solidly, but was sad­dled with the tough loss.

She threw 7.1 in­nings of seven-hit ball, giv­ing up an un­earned run, walk­ing two and strik­ing out two.

Ridge­land (22-7) will play at Cen­tral-Car­roll, who is the No. 2 seed from Re­gion 5.

The Lady Lions, ranked No. 5 this week by Score Atlanta, were swept by No. 6-ranked Chapel Hill, 9-7 and 111, in the 5-AAAA fi­nals.

A dou­ble­header will be played on Wed­nes­day, start­ing at 5 p.m.

A third game, if needed, would be played on Thurs­day.

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