RINGGOLD, Ga. -- When you come face-to-face with a grizzly bear, common sense should tell you that you don't poke the bear and make it even angrier than it normally is.
Common sense seemed to be in short supply at Bill Womack Field on Monday afternoon. Perhaps, it was the heat and humidity that baked away sane thinking.
But Ringgold players, coaches and fans appeared to want to poke at Columbus High right from the very first pitch of Game 1 of the Georgia High School Association Class AAA state championship series.
Ringgold pitcher Corey Kafka drilled Columbus' Kyle Carter in the back with a pitch that certainly appeared to be deliberate. The two exchanged pleasantries as Carter made his way down to first base.
A short time later in the same inning, Phillips scored from third base on a Josh Lester grounder to first base. After tagging first base, Adam Weldon threw home, but his throw was too late to get the sliding Phillips.
Once the play was over, instead of moving, so Phillips would have an opportunity to get up, catcher Andy Mocahbee stood over him, trying to prove what point I have no idea.
Phillips tried to stand up, but Mocahbee refused to move.
Eventually they separated, but not before the two coaches got into it nose-to-nose between the third-base coaching box and the Ringgold dugout.
After Columbus scored three more runs in the second inning to take a 5-0 lead, the chatter from the Ringgold fans seemed to die down except when Carter came to the plate. Of course, Carter has been a target of opposing teams and fans ever since the 2006 Little League World Series.
Back then, it was Lemont, Ill., Little League coach Mike Hall who criticized Carter for wearing his hat slightly askew. Of course, Hall should have found out that there was a medical reason for Carter to wear his hat like that.
The chatter picked back up in the fifth inning, when the Tigers scored three runs to get back into the game, but Carter shut them down the rest of the way for the win.
The noise continued into the fifth inning of Game 2, when the Blue Devils blew the game open as Phillips and Pierce Ressmeyer hit two-run homers.
That home run had to be especially sweet for Ressmeyer, who was jeered by the Ringgold fans after suffering a cramp in his leg late in Game 1.
If what is written on message boards and newspaper online editions are to be believed, then Ringgold and its fans certainly have developed a reputation for liking to talk, perhaps taking pride in being able to get under the skin of the opposing players and fans.
Certainly, the Columbus players and fans didn't enhance their reputations with their actions, either.
But I wouldn't suggest that strategy when it comes to facing Columbus High. It is best not to poke that bear.
Kevin Price, firstname.lastname@example.org, 706-320-4493