March 21, 2014

Prep roundup: Little things hurt Mountaineers baseball



“That was a big momentum-killer for us,” Redmond said. “We still haven’t learned to overcome those. Mistakes are going to happen in the game of baseball, we’ve just got to minimize them.”

It wasn’t the first time Friday a routine play went awry for both teams.

Viars was the batter in the second when a trio of Tigers converged on his pop fly to shallow right without anyone touching the ball before it hit the ground, putting him safe at second with one out.

Nothing else came of that mistake, but to the Tigers’ credit they didn’t miss their opportunity in the fourth. With the count full, all three runners put their heads down and sprinted — and it was the difference in the game.

“We always point out that every year we see a few balls that should have been caught,” Ringgold coach Brent Tucker said. “And every year you’ve got to be ready — you can’t just loaf around. Our guys were going hard there and we’re able to pick up three runs. If we’re not hustling we pick up two, maybe one.”

The Mountaineers got a run back in the bottom of the inning on back-to-back doubles by Burris and Brody Frazier and their final run in the sixth as Vaughn scored on a single by Burris.

The next batter was Frazier, who drew a walk to load the bases with no outs, chasing Tigers starter Logan Baldwin. But reliever Zach Morris used a 1-2-3 double play and an inning-ending strikeout to stop the threat quickly. He struck out two in a three-up, three-down seventh.

“He came in with no nerves and did just an excellent job for us,” Tucker said.

Ringgold’s final run came in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Dale.

Neither starter — both left-handers — was dominant, but Baldwin encountered less trouble on his way to the win, allowing five runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out seven.

Vaughn lasted four innings — he allowed two hits and seven walks while striking out seven — before giving way to Brady Harper, who worked 1-2-3 innings in the fifth and seventh.

He allowed one hit but also gave up a walk and hit a batter while striking out two.

Tucker said both North Murray pitchers did well battling his lineup, but he said the Tigers did a good job making them throw extra pitches — something that was especially obvious with Vaughn, who had trouble staying ahead of batters consistently.

Redmond is still working on his rotation, with nothing set save senior Aaron Granger, a Carson-Newman University signee who is 3-1.

While the season is no longer young, the home-and-home region schedule is only a week old, and Redmond seemed to take comfort in having contended with a state-level power in Ringgold. He’s eager for his players to forget the bad parts of Friday’s game and look forward to next week and three more region games.

Burris is ready to do that.

“We’ve got to come together as a team,” he said, “and stop playing as individuals.”

Northwest Whitfield 11, Ridgeland 10: The Bruins (7-3) scored six runs in the final two innings to overcome a 10-5 deficit on the road and sweep their three-game series with Ridgeland to start Sub-region 7B-4A play.

After Northwest scored five runs in the sixth to tie the game, Omar Hernandez walked to start the seventh.

After a liner for the first out, Andy Whisenant was hit by a pitch and Will Brock reached with a bunt single to load the bases. Diego Peralta’s sacrifice scored Hernandez for the eventual game-winning run.

Northwest collected 16 hits one day after coach Todd Middleton said the Bruins needed to be better at the plate. Northwest won 2-0 in Wednesday’s first game of the series and 6-0 on Thursday.

“We had some guys stay during the (junior varsity) game last night and hit in the cage and then came this morning and hit,” Middleton said. “They had better approaches at the plate tonight.”

Whisenant went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer in the second and drove in three runs. Caleb Shiflett was 3-for-4 with three RBIs, Peralta was 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs, Pierce was 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs, Brock was 2-for-5 with an RBI and Hernandez finished 2-for-3.

Logan Hilton took the mound for Northwest with one out in the sixth, finished that inning and pitched the seventh to earn the win. He allowed a hit and struck out three. Walker Maret pitched the prior 2 1/3 innings, allowing one run.

“Walker got us to that inning and they got a runner on second,” Middleton said. “Logan was ready and did a great job closing it out.”

Phillip Hammonds started for the Bruins and lasted two innings, allowing three earned runs on four hits and a walk. Jack Creswell pitched one inning, allowing three runs.

Northwest plays a three-game series with Heritage-Catoosa next week as sub-region play continues.

Cartersville 4, Coahulla Creek 1: Cartersville held the visiting Colts to two hits in the Region 5-3A matchup.

Coahulla Creek (3-8, 0-2) scored its lone run on a fielder’s choice by Jackson Sheppard.

Erick Dominguez was saddled with the loss after giving up an earned run on five hits and as many walks in 3 2/3 innings. Braiden Jacobs gave up three hits in 2 1/3 innings of shutout relief.

• Results from Murray County’s non-region game at Pickens were not reported by The Daily Citizen’s deadline.

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