West Hall’s 6-1 win against White County came as a great transition into the postseason, even though it had no bearing on seeding for either playoff-bound program out of Region 7-AAA.
“It’s senior night, so it’s an emotional night for our players,” Spartans coach Dustin Rennspies said. “This was purely about letting them enjoy the night.”
West Hall (18-8, 14-7) received three consecutive RBI hits in the bottom of the sixth inning to break open the score after it started the inning tied 1-1.
The Spartans, who won all three against the Warriors in the regular season, were already a lock for the No. 3 spot to the playoffs, while White County (17-9, 12-9) is the No. 4 seed.
The playoff pairings, likewise, were already secured. West Hall visits Ringgold in a best-of-three playoff series starting with a doubleheader on Friday, while White County visits the defending Class AAA state champion Cartersville.
The Spartans enter the playoffs winners of four of their last five.
“From 11-15 to 18-8 is a great season,” Rennspies said. “We’ve grown a lot and these guys have put in a tremendous amount of hard work.”
West Hall loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning after Zach English was walked, Brian Newman had a single fall between three players in right field and Will Simmons was hit by a pitch on the foot.
English scored for the second time of the night on a wild pitch by White County’s starter Matthew Hambrick to go up 2-1. Cam Warner and Zack Collins made the rally count with RBI singles, and Dustin Gaddis had a two-run hit back up the middle.
West Hall had the big five-run sixth inning, despite a string of 10 straight batters being set down in order by Hambrick, starting with one out and a pair of runners on base in the third inning. English touched the plate for the Spartans in the first inning after a first-inning triple.
He scored when a Brian Newman strikeout left the catcher’s glove and drew a throw down to first.
For White County, Spencer Adams had a two-out double in the first inning and a single past shortstop in the sixth inning. The Warriors received consecutive singles in the second inning from Joel Pritchett and Peyton Applewhite.
Pritchett scored from third on a ground out from Ethan Ramey.
The Warriors finished with six hits on the night but kept from scoring again after leaving a runner at third in the first and sixth inning.
“If we hit like this against Cartersville, we’ll have two five-inning losses,” White County coach John Brown said. “We just have to do a better job of scoring runs.”
White County kept West Hall off the board in the second inning with a nice double play for the final two outs of the inning on a ground ball by Gaddis to shortstop Tray Gearin.
The Warriors are coming off a 2-1 win against region champion Buford on Wednesday. White County lost the two games before that to North Hall and Fannin County.
First-round playoff times are still to be determined.