From Staff Reports
Neither Dalton High School baseball coach Shane Ramsey nor North Murray coach David Redmond has had much reason to complain about their offensive production this season.
Defense is another matter.
The teams played against each other for the second day in a row, and just as in Wednesday’s 2-1 win for Dalton in Chatsworth, Thursday’s game in Dalton was decided by a run. However, this time it was an 11-10 Dalton win after the two teams combined for 10 errors and just eight earned runs.
“Offensively, we are swinging well and getting runs in when we get into scoring position,” Ramsey said. “We are still having to work on the big inning from the other teams where we have one error and it leads to another. We have not looked great the last two games defensively, but we have won, so I am happy about that. We are figuring out a way to win, and that is a big positive.”
The teams combined for 26 hits, and Redmond felt much the same way Ramsey did after the offensive display — he’s wondering when the defense is going to catch up.
“We are hitting the ball well, but our defense has been shaky and we haven’t gotten it figured out yet,” Redmond said. “The kids are still battling, which is a real good thing. The pitching is doing its job, we just have to get the defense to step up.”
Dalton senior catcher Grant Sane was 2-for-2 and drove in three runs for the Catamounts (4-2). Cole Shelton was also 2-for-2, driving in a pair of runs, while Jase Chastain was 2-for-3 with an RBI and Charlie Martin also drove in a run.
Jake Roberts — one of five pitchers used by the Cats — took the win in relief, striking out four in 1 2/3 innings of work with five hits and two earned runs. Dalton committed three errors.
It was North Murray’s seven errors that doomed the Mountaineers, though, because there was plenty of offense.
Blake Davis led all hitters with a 4-for-5 night with an RBI and three runs, while Cole Vaughn was 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and Brody Frazier drove in a run and scored twice in a 2-for-3 performance. Alex Viars also drove in two runs as the Mountaineers (2-5) finished with 13 hits.
• Morris Innovative boys 6, Pepperell 1: One defensive shift by Morris Innovative stole all of the momentum away from visiting Pepperell at Harmon Field and led to an avalanche of goals for the Tigers.
The teams had matched each other defensively through much of the first half, with Sergio Mendiola’s putaway off of a David Salis corner kick the lone goal of the opening half. But to start the second half, the Dragons controlled the pace, keeping the Tigers on their heels and making the Morris Innovative offense nonexistent.
That was before coach Ernie Dempsey made a shift for the Tigers.
“We made a subtle defensive adjustment and were able to take the momentum away from them,” Dempsey said. “They were getting too many balls at the top of the final third of the field. So we added another midfielder to give us a little more possession help, and by controlling the ball, we were able to break our forwards out top.
“It basically just filled a gap in our defense, and adding some support helped out a lot.”
After making the adjustment, the Tigers (4-4, 4-3 Region 7-2A) scored five goals in the next 15 minutes of play.
Marco Espinoza had a pair of goals, and other scores came from Carlos Beltran, Jonathan Herrera and Salis.
Luis Perez anchored the defensive effort, Dempsey said.
• Pepperell girls 4, Morris Innovative 1: Bernice Hernandez tied the game 1-1 early in the second half, but Pepperell won the Region 7-2A match at Harmon Field going away.
Brianda Martinez had the assist for Morris Innovative (0-7, 0-7).
• North Murray boys 3, Cartersville 1 (OT): Arturo Garcia scored with 13 minutes left to send the game into overtime, and the Mountaineers remained unbeaten — they’re 4-0 overall and in Region 5-3A — after scoring in both periods of overtime.
Neto Rodriguez scored on what coach Matt Chambers called a “picture-perfect” volley from 15 yards in front of the goal on a cross from Umberto Orozco in the first period of overtime, and Victor Iturbero closed the scoring with a goal off an Orozco assist.
Cartersville’s only goal came on a first-half penalty kick. North Murray keeper Manuel Gonzalez had four saves.
• Cartersville girls 3, North Murray 1: Amber Bandy finished with 15 saves in goal for North Murray, and the Lady Mountaineers became the first team in Region 5-3A to score on Cartersville, which is undefeated through four games overall and three in region play.
The Lady Hurricanes led 2-0 at the end of the first half. Alonda Bennett scored on an unassisted goal early in the second half for North Murray (1-3, 1-3).
• Northwest Whitfield boys 10, LaFayette 0: Miguel Villa notched his third hat trick of the year, but little brother Bryan Villa finished the night as the winner in the family feud.
Bryan finished with four goals and each of the Villa brothers had an assist as Northwest rolled in the mercy-rule shortened game on the road.
David Franco added two goals for the Bruins (3-1, 2-1 Sub-region 7B-4A), with the other score coming from Kevin Centeno.
Centeno, Edward Infante, Brandon Jimenez and Ivan Valezquez all had assists for Northwest, which dominated the game with 24 shots on goal without allowing LaFayette a single scoring opportunity.
• Northwest girls 2, LaFayette 1 (OT): Juliana Gomez set up one goal and scored the decisive one as the Lady Bruins remained undefeated with a road victory on a cold, wet evening.
Northwest (6-0, 3-0 Sub-region 7B-4A) went up 1-0 in the opening five minutes when Vanessa Lara turned a pass from Gomez into a goal, but LaFayette responded and it was 1-1 at halftime.
Gomez scored in the first of the two five-minute periods of overtime and Northwest’s defense made the lead stick. Lady Bruins coach Melissa Torbett noted the defensive play of Courtney Pendergrass as well as keeper Gracie Holmes, who made four saves, including a crucial one in overtime.
The Lady Bruins outshot LaFayette 15-11.
Northwest will host an alumni night for former players tonight as part of its boys-girls doubleheader versus visiting Coahulla Creek. All former Northwest soccer players are encouraged to attend to be recognized at halftime of the games.
• Dalton junior varsity boys 3, Northwest Whitfield 0: Jose Boyzo had a pair of goals, while Junior Perez finished with a goal and an assist as the Cats remained undefeated through five matches with the win in Tunnel Hill.
Esli Diaz and Cristian Saldano each had assists, while Gabriel Arriola and Luis Torres combined for the shutout in goal.
• Coahulla Creek 182, Ringgold 183: Ringgold’s John Espy took medalist honors with an even-par 36, but Coahulla Creek used its consistency across the lineup to take a one-stroke win in the dual match.
The four golfers for the Colts were all within four strokes of each other as Austin Cole led the Colts with a 43 and was followed by David Manis (45), Ian Conway (47) and Alex Longmire (47).
• Southeast Whitfield girls 5, Ridgeland 0: In Rossville, the Lady Raiders (1-2, 1-1 Sub-region 7B-4A) got wins from the No. 1 doubles team of Ally Stanley and Julie Cole, 6-0, 6-0, and No. 1 singles player Daisy Maya, 6-1, 5-0 (retired).
Ridgeland forfeited the rest of the courts.
• Southeast boys 5, Ridgeland 0: Also on the road, the Raiders (1-2, 1-1 Sub-region 7B-4A) swept the singles competition and took forfeit victories in doubles. Winners for Southeast at singles were No. 1 Alejandro Luna, 6-2, 5-0 (retired), No. 2 Alexis Beccera, 6-0, 6-0, and No. 3 Jorge Ruedas, 6-0, 6-0.
• Murray County girls singles tennis players Greta Lazzarotto and Gabbie Bordelon each won pro-set matches against visiting Armuchee before play was suspended by the weather. Lazzarotto won 8-1, while Bordelon won 8-0.
Murray County’s boys lost all three matches that were completed, losing 3-0. The match between the two Region 7-2A foes did not count in the region standings, and the girls match will not be completed.
• Weather washed out the remainder of the area prep sports schedule from Thursday.
In baseball, Coahulla Creek at Calhoun, Gordon Central at Southeast Whitfield and Ridgeland at Murray County were all wiped off the books by rain and sleet. All are non-region games, and no makeup dates have been determined.
On the tennis courts, play was suspended between Coahulla Creek and North Murray. The matches are scheduled to be completed today in Chatsworth. Dalton’s Sub-region 7B-4A matches at Heritage-Catoosa were suspended as well and are scheduled to be completed on Monday.
In track and field, Murray County and North Murray were scheduled to compete at Gilmer, but the meet was not held and won’t be made up.
In golf, Christian Heritage’s match at LaFayette was postponed but no makeup date has been determined. Also, Coahulla Creek was scheduled to host LaFayette, Pickens and Ringgold, but calls to coach Chip Fleming were not returned by The Daily Citizen’s deadline.