Columbus helps pay the way for Ringgold baseball team

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  Columbus is playing host to the second round of the Georgia State Baseball Tournament and teams from all over the state are in town. But one team went through quite a few hurdles to make it this far.

The tornadoes a few weeks ago destroyed a lot of property for a lot of people, and the destructive path almost destroyed the Ringgold baseball team's chances of making it to that point, but the Columbus community stepped up to make sure they could still play ball.

The Ringgold baseball team's trip to Columbus was a longer one than they ever imagined.

"The tornado hit them last week and it totally demolished parts of their school and their entire baseball field and most of their equipment," said Herbert Greene, the Director of the Columbus Sports Council.

Ringgold head baseball coach Brent Tucker added, "They didn't know which way we were going to go. At one time we thought the season would be canceled."

But then a small ray of hope shone through.

Ringgold High School senior and baseball player Zach Lance said, "They called within 24 hours of the catastrophe and it means a lot to us knowing that everyone's behind us, not just Ringgold fans, but everyone from around the state."

Baseball coaches from all over Georgia made arrangements to get the team to their towns to play ball.

Coach Tucker told News Leader Nine, "They were gracious enough to give us the first night free and we're here a couple nights so that really helps with the budget and saving money right now because of the things we're going through. Reaching out like that was a huge help."

The Columbus High baseball coach called Herbert Greene and asked how they could pitch in. He said, "Check with the hotels and just get them to send me a bill and that's what they did."

Then the Northside High coach wanted to feed the team. Greene helped out again, "We did a meal here Tuesday night for them when they got here."

The Ringgold team was shaken by destruction in their hometown, but they say now they just have to keep their heads in the game.

Zach Lance said, "It gave us something to play for really. We were one of the few things left in the community for people to believe in and everyone was rallying around us and that made us feel good about ourselves and want to get back together and play."

"I tell everyone it's a favor I hope I never have to return. I hope no high school ever has to go through this," added Coach Tucker.

As if feeding and housing the team wasn't enough, the parents at Columbus High School collected money for the teammates and their families to take back to Ringgold to help with relief efforts.

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