Pickens (8-13, 2-7 Region 7AAAA) defeated River Ridge 8-1 in the opening game of the series on Tuesday. The Knights had 12 hits in the game, but struggled to get runs across the plate.
Thursday night wasn’t much different as the Knights had plenty of hits, but aside from the five-run first, didn’t score. Four of those five runs came in the form of a grand slam by Parris Collins.
River Ridge coach Scott Bradley acknowledged that his team has been struggling this week.
“I think we left 10 men on base (Tuesday) against Pickens, so finally somebody stepped up when we had an opportunity,” Bradley said. “We had the bases loaded and Parris Collins came up big with the grand slam that put us up with a good cushion 5-0. It was obviously needed since we didn’t put another run on the board the rest of the game.”
Pickens scored one run in the top of the third and River Ridge nearly scored in the sixth, but Luke Berryhill was tagged at the plate trying to score on a grounder to short.
While River Ridge wasn’t able to add to its lead, Pickens was forced to play from behind the entire game. Bradley said this made him as comfortable as he could be with the lead.
Berryhill reached base four times for the Knights. He had three hits and also reach on an error.
On a night when the eight River Ridge seniors were honored, Bradley worked in some guys as pinch runners, but it didn’t change the result on the field.
Sloan Parker pitched the complete game for the Knights. It was his third complete game during region play.
“There was never a thought of taking Sloan out and saving him for an inning or two (today),” Bradley said. “He was right at 80 pitches (Thursday). He’s very efficient. Throwing the ball well and throwing a lot of strikes. He doesn’t walk many people.”
Although River Ridge posted a 5-1 victory in Game 2, the offense lacked the spark it will need to win the sub-region and have a shot at the region championship. River Ridge once controlled its own destiny with a two game lead over Cedartown in the standings. However, after losing back-to-back games against Cass and Pickens, they now need some help from the Colonels in order to regain the lead. Should Cedartown and River Ridge have identical region records, the Knights would win the tie-breaker after sweeping Cedartown in their series.
Cass and Cedartown will play the final game of their three game series tonight to complete the regular season.
The top teams from each sub-region will play a best-of-three series to determine the region champion and the No. 1 and No. 2 seed for the Class AAAA state playoffs.
The second team from Region 7AAAA (A) will play the third team from Region 7AAAA (B) and the third team from Region 7AAAA (A) will play the second team from Region 7AAAA (B) to decide the other two state playoff bound teams.
“We can’t control and more than we can control,” Bradley said. “We are pulling for Cass to win one game and we set ourselves in a good spot winning this one (Thursday). Now we just need to go over there and take care of business (today) and hopefully Cass will get them once and we can get in there.”
Alex Fowler will get the start for the Knights today.