By Stephen Black
In the Class AAA state finals series, two-time defending state champion Columbus swept host Ringgold 6-3 and 11-1 to win its third consecutive state championship.
Game 2 was decided by the mercy rule when Anthony Young, Jr. and Al Jones scored on a passed ball in the bottom of the sixth inning to give the Blue Devils a 10-run lead. J.T. Phillips pitched a complete game and also homered while driving in two and scoring twice.
The Blue Devils jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first inning, when Pierce Ressmeyer singled in two and Anthony Padron drove in one. In the fifth, Columbus scored five to gain a commanding 8-1 lead.
In the series opener, Kyle Carter, Phillips’ teammate on the 2006 Little League World Series champions from Columbus, pitched a complete game, allowing three runs on five hits with six strikeouts. The Blue Devils led 5-0 after two innings, having scored twice in the first and three times in the second. Columbus was aided in the first two innings by three Ringgold errors and a hit batsman, as Carter was drilled with the first pitch of the game.
It was the first road series for Columbus since the 2009 final. The Blue Devils have now won 12 baseball state championships.