Canes coach Stuart Chester said his team didn't play like itself to start the game against the host Tigers.
"We came out flat, which is uncharacteristic -- especially in a game like this," Chester said, noting his team played better the last four innings. "There were plays we didn't make. We had a couple of errors. We left too many runners on base.
"We had opportunities," he continued, "[but] didn't capitalize on 'em."
After rallying to tie the game at 4-all in the top of the sixth, Cartersville had two at-bats with runners on second and third but managed only a walk to load the bases before Ringgold struck out its final batter of the inning.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, the Tigers prevented extra innings by drawing a walk, singling and then getting a game-winning three-run homer.
Chester said the game felt like it would come down "to whoever had the last at-bat."
That sort of back and forth was to be expected in a game featuring the Nos. 5 and 6 Class AAA teams in the state in Cartersville and Ringgold, respectively.
The Tigers pushed across one run each in the second and fourth innings for an early lead, but the Canes' Michael Goss tied things up with his double in the fifth. Ringgold regained the lead in the bottom half of the inning, going up 4-2.
Brandon Wells singled to start things off for Cartersville in the sixth, Austin Adams was hit by a pitch and Beau Benefield walked to load the bases. Zach Ross hit a sharp grounder to third, which was mishandled by a Tigers infielder, pulling the Canes within one run. They then tied the game at 4 on another sharply hit ball, this one by Connor Justus.
Along with Goss, Benefield, Justus, Wells and Jojo Underwood also had hits for Cartersville, with Benefield's hit -- a double -- being of the extra-base variety.
Tyler Will threw five innings for the Canes, surrendering three earned runs and striking out four. Ty Fowler went 1 2/3 innings, retiring the first five batters he faced before running into trouble in the last inning.
Cartersville (9-2, 6-1) has no time to fret over a loss that halted its seven-game winning streak and provided its first loss in region play. The Canes have another road test Thursday as they travel to Acworth to face No. 8 Allatoona.
"We gotta wipe the blood off and get ready to get cut again," Chester said of a game that figures to be as strongly contested as Monday's.
"It's a wake-up call," he added of the loss to Ringgold. "In baseball, anything can happen. We're in a tough region. We gotta come out [to play]. Every pitch, every swing, every run, every play you make in a region like this is crucial. It comes down to the little things."
Cartersville and the Buccaneers are slated to renew their rivalry at 5:55 p.m.