The right-hander defeated No. 4 state ranked Cartersville 5-0, and the Tigers, ranked No. 8 in the same GACA coaches poll, earned their second victory of the season over the Purple Hurricanes. Cartersville was limited to four hits -- all singles -- and dropped to 17-4 overall and 14-3 in the region while Ringgold improved to 18-4 and 15-2.
Head coach Stuart Chester said the Canes did not find ways to manufacture runs against Ringgold.
"You get in a game like that and you gotta get some breaks," Chester said. "We didn't get any breaks, but we really didn't create a lot of breaks."
He said Kafka, who pitched a complete game, didn't make things any easier.
"He threw a good game and it took us three or four innings to get adjusted to him," the coach said. "He's a good pitcher and he did a good job."
The loss gives Cartersville an uphill battle if it is to claim the region title, but the Canes are in a strong position to make the state playoffs as they are the sole holders of second place.
The victory puts Ringgold in the driver's seat for the region crown, giving it a one-game lead over Cartersville in the standings and the tie-breaker should the two teams end up knotted at the end of the regular season. The two teams have three region games remaining in their seasons.
The Tigers defeated Cartersville with small ball, as they scored single runs in the first, third, fourth, fifth and seventh inning.
Cartersville had scoring opportunities but came up short. Also, the drives of two Canes -- Tyler Will in the fifth and Connor Justus in the sixth -- came up just inside the stadium fence. Also, the Canes committed four errors on the evening, several easing the scoring path for their opponents.
The Tigers lit up the scoreboard early on the night but their first two runs were unearned. Cane hurler Trey Graves struck out the first Tiger batter he faced and coaxed a fly to right field from the second. However, Read Walden reached on an error, advanced to second on a throwing error and then scored when Adam Weldon's hard shot hit Graves and skipped into right field. That proved the only run they would need.
The Tigers' second unearned run came in the third inning. Their first earned run came in the top of the fourth, when Wright Hacket got on with a single that hit the first base bag and careened over the first baseman into right field. A sacrifice bunt moved him to second and he scored on a double to give Ringgold a 3-0 lead.
The Tigers scored single runs again in the fifth and seventh.
The Canes were led offensively by Zach Ross, with two hits; Tripp Jamieson, one hit; and Brandon Wells, one hit.
Chester said the Canes will put the loss behind them.
"We'll go down and enjoy Turner Field [today] and get ready for Allatoona on Monday," he said. "It's baseball and we've got another game and another opportunity. We've just got to make the best of it."
The Canes next play West Forsyth in a non-region game today at Turner Field. The game starts at 4 p.m.
Cartersville then hosts Allatoona (16-6, 12-4) on Monday.
Its final games are Thursday, when it visits Pickens (6-16, 3-13), and Friday, when it hosts Ridgeland (4-17, 1-15).
Cartersville lost to Pickens, 4-2, when the two played March 30. The Canes defeated Ridgeland, 11-3, on April 2. It defeated Allatoona 5-0 on March 29.
Ringgold closes out its year by hosting Southeast Whitfield (5-16, 4-13) on April 23, Cedartown (10-13, 8-9) on April 26 and then visits LaFayette (10-12, 8-9) on April 27.