The Purple Hurricanes excelled offensively all evening, pounding out 14 hits -- an intoxicating mixture of three home runs, three doubles and eight singles -- to close out its regular season with its 20th win.
Head coach Stuart Chester said the hitting display is a big confidence builder for the Purple Hurricanes, who now begin preparations for the upcoming state playoffs, which start Friday at Richard Bell Field against an as-yet undetermined opponent.
"The way we hit today and played good defense, it will get us some momentum," Chester said.
The Canes also played well defensively. The pitching was a tad generous -- including six walks -- but was solid with just three hits, all singles, and the strikeouts of six Panthers in the complete game effort by Trey Graves in a game that was shortened to five innings by the run rule.
Cartersville, which was playing the Panthers on senior night, got a bonus from that starting lineup as the starters -- all seniors -- scored eight big runs in the first inning to end any drama before it could get to the plate.
Ross led off the game with a stand-up double, then scored when Kendall Hawkins followed suit with the game's second double, to put the Canes up 1-0. Hawkins went to third when Michael Willard hit a long foul that was caught, then scored on a single by Michael Goss, who scored just afterward on a double by Asa Williams. Hayes Linn, running for Williams, scored on a wild pitch to put Cartersville up 4-0. Tyler Will scored Cartersville's fifth run and Ross's home run shot in his second at-bat of the first inning also scored Trent Willingham and Graves.
Ridgeland got on the scoreboard in the top of the second when Graves was bled for three bases on ball and the Panthers scored on a sacrifice shot to center field that scored their third-base runner.
Cartersville responded with two runs in the bottom of the frame, scored by Goss and Williams, both of whom reached base on singles and touched home plate after a two-run single by Jacob Baxter.
Two Panthers circled the bases in the third, helped by two walks and two singles, as they closed the game to 10-3.
Cartersville punched its 11th run across in the bottom of the fourth on a solo home run by Willard.
The Canes then scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth when Jamieson scorched an offering out of the park to end the game on the run-rule.
"That was a great way to end the game," Chester later commented.
He said the Canes' hitting and defensive work in the contest are a good way to start preparations for the playoffs, adding it was part of a good team effort.
"Pitching, we weren't as sharp as we have been," Chester said. "We struggled there but got through it, and we had a good offensive effort to back him up. We just have to be sharp the next time we come out."
He said the Canes have played with a sense of purpose, trying to improve each game of the season.
"We want to get better each outing," Chester said. "Hopefully tonight's was better than the last one."
He said he liked the intensity by the Canes.
"They were focused. It was senior day and they stayed focused and did a good job."
Cartersville's starting lineup consisted exclusively of seniors although underclassmen got to play as the game wore on.
"We try to get everybody in," Chester said. "With us having second place locked up and the talent we've got on the senior squad, we put them all out there."
He said Cartersville will soon learn of its next opponent, adding it will be either Oconee or Franklin.
The victory closes Cartersville's overall record at 20-5, 17-3 in Region 7-AAA, good enough to finish second. Ridgeland fell to 6-20 overall, 2-18 in the region.