Tigers whip Gardendale, Muscle Shoals
Hartselle travels to Buckhorn for quarterfinals
It would seem strange for the Hartselle Tigers not to make the quarterfinals of the state baseball playoffs. The 2004 season is not going to be a strange one.
The Hartselle Tigers whipped Gardendale on Wednesday and then Muscle Shoals on Saturday to reach the quarterfinals of the state playoffs. The Tigers will travel to Buckhorn for a best-of-three series starting this Friday at 4 p.m.
Hartselle 4, Gardendale 2
Hartselle's Zack Andrews went the distance on the hill to pick up the win. Andrews struck out twelve and allowed only six hits during the win.
Gardendale took the lead first with one run in the top of the fourth inning on three base hits. The Tigers responded with three runs in the bottom of the inning to grab the lead. Ja'Cote Ward singled to lead off the inning.
Ward moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and to third on an error. Ward scored when Chris Wiley singled back through the middle. Watson then singled Wiley home to put Hartselle on top. Watson came home on a Brian Ellis single.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Tigers increased the lead to three runs. Wiley doubled to right field and moved to third on a passed ball. He scored on Watson's second hit of the game.
Gardendale scored the game's final run with two outs in the top of the seventh. Then Andrews got a fly out to end the game and send the Tigers to round two.
"We seemed to have saved up all our hits for one inning," Hartselle coach William Booth said. "We just got lucky with some timely base hits tonight."
The Tigers improved to 31-16 so far this season.
Hartselle 5, Muscle Shoals 2
The visitors loaded the bases in the top of the first with one out. The fans in the stands were not the only people concerned.
"It was scary in the first inning," Booth said. "The bases were loaded. If the next guy homers we go down four runs."
Zack Andrews, who picked up his second playoff win in four days, then got a ground ball that turned into an inning ending double play.
The Tigers jumped on top first in the bottom of the second inning.
Chris Kohlenberg and Logan Whitlow smashed back-to-back doubles to give Hartselle a 1-0 lead.
The lead grew to 3-0 in the bottom of the third inning when Ja'Cote Ward singled, moved to second on a passed ball and stole third base.
Ward scored when the throw attempting to catch him stealing went into left field. Kohlenberg then singled in David Cameron with two outs.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Brian Ellis singled and scored when Logan Whitlow hit the next pitch over the left field fence for a two-run home run.
The 5-0 lead would last until the top of the sixth inning when Muscle Shoals' Jordan Conley homered off Andrews to lead off the top of the frame.
The visitors added one more run in the top of the seventh, but it would not be enough as Andrews finished his second complete game win in the playoffs.
The Tigers (32-16) are in search of their seventh state championship.
Should Hartselle win the series at Buckhorn, they would host the semifinal round of play.