With the Region 7-AAAA North competition getting hot enough to come to a boil heading into May, the Tigers entered the week as one of two teams with only one loss.
But when Ringgold was defeated 7-1 on Wednesday by Notre Dame, winning wasn’t a top priority.
Preparing to make their final run to clench a region title and a berth to the state playoffs was according to the veteran coach.
“Competing with the Chattanooga teams has always been a measuring stick for us,” Beagles said. “We’ve seen a lot of good pitching from across the (Georgia) line, and that’s why this game was so important. It wasn’t a region game, but it was something to get us ready.”
The Irish (15-9) served as an appetizer for the Tigers - who must win the remaining four games of the season to win the region crown.
Ringgold and Northwest Whitfield entered the week with only one loss each.
Ridgeland and Paulding County had two losses, and Southeast Whitfield had three.
The Tigers (14-7 overall) are scheduled to host Ridgeland on Monday and travel to Southeast on Tuesday. Ringgold’s final game is slated for Friday at Northwest Whitfield.
“We have to step up to the plate,” Beagles said.
If Ringgold and the Bruins win out this week, the region championship will come down to the final game. The brawl for it all would be on Friday between Ringgold and Northwest at Tunnel Hill.
“It just so happens the way the schedule fell, there are five or six teams that are in contention for those top spots in the region,” Beagles said. “The good thing on our part is that we can control what happens from here.”
The top two teams will advance to the Georgia Class AAAA State Playoffs.
Irish win 7-1:
Notre Dame put away the Tigers early, scoring four runs in the first two innings.
The Fighting Irish scored their first run on a sacrifice fly by Matt Cain.
Ringgold junior starting pitcher Jeff Brumley walked the first two batters, and Tyler Cooper bunted for a hit to load the bases.
The Irish scored three more runs in their second at-bat. Brumley struck out the first batter, but gave up a single by sophomore Carson Courter — the game’s winning pitcher. Chris Holloway drew a walk and the last batter in the lineup was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Brumley (0-4) struck out the lead-off batter for the first out, and Andrew Hennen roped a two-run single to right.
Cooper knocked in the final run of the inning on a double.
It was all over from there as Notre Dame scored their final three runs off the Tigers second pitcher of the day,
freshman Drew Walker.
Courter kept the Ringgold hitters off balance as he scattered seven hits and struck out four to record his third win of the year. He has only one loss for the season.
The Tigers committed three errors in the field, while Notre Dame made none