Ringgold loses state baseball title, draws crowd to new field - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Ringgold loses state baseball title, draws crowd to new field

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RINGGOLD, GA (WRCB) -- The Ringgold Tigers spent Memorial Day on the diamond, in the hunt for a state championship title.

The Tigers fell to top-ranked Columbus High School.

Columbus took the Georgia Class AAA state baseball championship after beating the Tigers 6-3 and 11-1.

It's not the first challenge for the local high school baseball team.

The players huddled in a hotel room last April to ride out the deadly storm that took the lives of classmates and destroyed their field.

Today's challenge, like the others, comes with support from the community. An estimated 1,500 fans were watching as the Tigers competed for the state title.

"The student section is always here, going at the other fans," says Blake Womack, a recent graduate of Ringgold High School, cheering from the student section of bleachers.

All eyes were on the Ringgold Tigers, where they've been before.

"Where some great players had played, and gone on to play minor and major league ball, the field where they had played just was no more," remembered Melody Moore, from the sidelines.

Last April's storm ripped through the school.

The football and baseball fields were lost, along with most athletic equipment.

Worst of all, the storm claimed the lives of classmates, neighbors, and friends.

"It brought us a lot closer together," said Womack referring to the student body, "everyone is closer as a group now."

A year later the Tigers are hosting the Georgia Class AAA championship series on a brand new field that represents healing in the small town.

A better version opened with the 2012 season.

"It's 100 times better," said Womack, "the new fence, the new field, everything is prettier."

"The Tigers have been through a lot together," said Moore, "and with losing their field, having to wait for things to be rebuilt, practicing in places they weren't used to, and to make this far, it's really a great accomplishment for them."

Moore doesn't have a son on the field or at Ringgold High, but says the Tigers have her support.

"When things fall apart, we come together," she said, "and I think that's been true for all of Catoosa County over the last year."

Win or lose, the Tigers are home and their coach is proud.

"It was a big day, it was a big day for Ringgold," said Head Coach Brent Tucker after the game. "Everybody knows the story of us now. This time last year we were picking up the pieces, and now we're playing a state championship on our field."

"We came along way. This time last year it seemed like we didn't have a future," added 2nd baseman Wright Hackett, one of the team's eight seniors, "we came a long way."

There is still work to be done on Ringgold's tennis, softball and other baseball facilities.

The fund-raising for those projects continues.

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