However, the Cartersville baseball team has reloaded and proved it Thursday night with its 4-0 victory over Ringgold at Richard Bell Field.
“Just a tip of the hat to [Ringgold]. Logan Baldwin is a very good pitcher and has a great future ahead of him, and they’re just a quality baseball program,” Cartersville head coach Stuart Chester said. “They won the region three years ago, beat us in a game here and won the region. So anytime you get a region win it’s just huge, and of course, against them it’s even bigger.”
Baldwin started the game for Ringgold and pitched a scoreless first inning. However, Cartersville was able to score a run in the second inning. Clifton Dempsey led off with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Garrett Rutledge then stepped to the plate two batters later and hit a groundball to short. Dale threw to third base to try and put out Dempsey advancing, but his throw hit Dempsey in the back, allowing him to reach safely. Dale’s decision would prove costly for Ringgold as Dempsey would come around to score on Elliott Berrey’s groundout to give Cartersville a 1-0 lead.
The Canes did not know then, but that would be all the runs they needed as Hunter Osborn pitched a complete game shutout on the mound for Cartersville.
Osborn allowed two hits in the first two innings, but Berrey would erase each baserunner from his catcher position. He threw out Dale trying to steal second base in the first inning and then picked off Duke football commit Zach Morris at first base in the second when Morris got too aggressive with his lead.
Osborn did not allow a hit the rest of the way. Ringgold did put three more baserunners on because of an error, a strikeout that got past the catcher and a walk in the seventh inning. Still, Osborn continued his strong pitching this season to pick up the win.
“He’s been doing that all year long,” Chester said of Osborn’s performance. “He throws strikes.”
“The fastball and the curveball were [working],” Osborn said. “I was just trying to live in the strike zone today.
“It was a little breezy but I felt good today. I feel like we can do whatever we need to do. I have a great team behind me.”
Osborn recorded nine strikeouts, including three strikeouts of Baldwin, two on high fastballs.
“[Baldwin] was starting to swing at the high one so we figured we would keep throwing them high,” Osborn said.
Ringgold did not have a baserunner reach scoring position in the game.
Meanwhile, Cartersville put runners on second and third base with one out in the fourth inning, but could not drive the runners home after two failed bunt attempts. Clifton Dempsey and Elliott Anderson failed to get the bunts down in the fourth, although Dempsey did single in his at bat.
The pair would make amends in the sixth inning, though.
Cameron Neal walked to lead off and Dempsey was able to get down a bunt back to Baldwin on the mound. Baldwin went to second base with the throw, but Neal was able to slide in safely to put two runners on. Anderson then received the sign to bunt once again and laid it down the third base line. Baldwin fielded it and threw it away while trying to get Anderson at first base. Pinch runner Trenton Frazier was able to score from second base on the play and Dempsey moved to third base.
“We’ve executed all year long with our sacrifice bunts, and for some reason, we went brain dead tonight,” Chester said. “Clifton didn’t get it down and got a base hit. Things like that happen in baseball, and we have to get some breaks and we got some.”
David Darnell was then able to drive Dempsey home with a single through the left side of the infield to give Cartersville a three-run lead. Cartersville would manufacture another run in the inning before Osborn shut Ringgold down in the seventh to preserve the victory.
“That’s the way baseball is,” Chester said. “It’s been cold and wet, and we’ve just been hammering at it. We keep swinging the bats and getting timely hits, and the defense just keeps getting better.”
Cartersville is now 5-0 in Region 5-AAA while Ringgold moves to 4-1.
The pair will meet again at Ringgold on April 15.
First, Cartersville will look to keep its region record perfect today at home against Sonoraville.