Ridgeland to open playoffs in Carrollton
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.