Playing in the Dizzy Dean District 1 title game against Boynton at Rock Spring, the Rossville Reds spotted Boynton a 3-1 lead, then exploded for a dozen runs in the top of the second inning to cruise to a 16-3 win and the district championship.
"We've worked hard to get to where we're at," Rossville head coach Tommy Ferguson said. "We have phenomenal pitching with four or five kids that can pitch with just about anybody around here, and a defense that can back them up. When you have that, to go with 12-15 runs a game, we think we're in pretty good shape."
The Reds jumped on the board in the top of the first inning as Drew Meade laced a one-out single and took each of the next three bases on wild pitches.
Boynton, needing to defeat Rossville twice to claim the title, answered with a three-spot of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Jacob King drove in a run with a single, and starting pitcher Drew Spencer helped his own cause with a two-run triple to left.
But Rossville starter Austin Ferguson would settle down, getting a strikeout and back-to-back line drive outs to end the inning.
The rest of the night would belong to the Red-and-White.
Isaac Pitts got the ball rolling in the top of the second with an infield single which drove in a run. Moments later, a Boynton fielding error would allow two more runs to cross the plate, and a second error brought home Rossville's fourth run of the inning.
Tucker Miller kept the rally going by driving in a run on a groundout, and Ferguson followed suit with an RBI-single of his own. A two-run single by Lane Johnson made it 9-3, and Pitts, batting for the second time in the inning, beat out a two-out bunt single to drive in the Reds' 10th run of the game.
A two-RBI double, this one by Meade, pushed the lead to 12-3, and Blake Guffey capped the inning with a solid RBI-single.
From there, Rossville turned things over to their pitchers. Ferguson struck out the side in the bottom of the second inning, and was replaced by Malachi Liles in the top of the third. Liles would retire all six batters he faced, including the first two by strikeout in the fourth.
The game would end after the fourth inning, via the run-rule, as Rossville capped a 4-0 tournament run.
Ferguson got the victory, allowing just two hits and striking out four, while Liles threw two innings of no-hit ball in relief.
"We started out kind of shaky in the first (inning), but the kids settled down and did a good job," the coach added. "They started hitting the ball like they know how to hit the ball, and sometimes that can get contagious. We just try to get them to do what they know how to do and talk them through it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but things fell our way tonight."
Next up for the Reds is an invite to Valdosta for the Dizzy Dean 10-year-old state tournament and a chances to make amends for last season when the team entered the 9-year-old tournament as district champions before making a less-than-stellar showing.
"We had high hopes going into last year, but we kind of stunk it up," Ferguson admitted. "But I feel we're a better ball team this year, and our pitching's deeper, so I think we're in pretty good shape to go and represent Rossville and our district well at state."
The 10-year-old state tournament gets going on July 5.
Bandits win 7-year-old district title
Monday night in Chatsworth, the Boynton Bandits claimed the 7-year-old District 1 crown with an 18-7 win over the Boynton Jackets.
Both teams will be among those in the state tournament field when play begins in Canton on July 5.
Final four set in LaFayette
The 8-year-old District 1 tournament has finalized the four teams that will earn invites to the state tournament in Valdosta on July 5, but the final order of finish has not yet been be decided.
The Whitfield Nitro secured a spot in the championship game with an 18-1 pasting of Dade County on Monday, while losers' bracket games saw the Ringgold Tigers eliminate Rock Spring, 21-2, and Chattanooga Valley knock out the Whitfield Mad Dawgs, 10-7.
Ringgold will face Chattanooga Valley at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at the Lowell Greene Complex with the winner to take on Dade County at 7:30 for a spot in the finals.
The championship game is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. Should the Nitro lose, a second championship game would be played Wednesday at 6 p.m.