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Tigers surging toward playoffs

By Staff
Charles Prince, Hartselle Enquirer
The Hartselle Tigers had a six-game winning streak snapped by Pleasant Grove on Wednesday night. However, they won the second game and they proceeded to sweep Cullman the next night and win two more games Saturday. The Tigers have now won 11 of their last 12 games with the playoffs less than a week away.
Cullman at Hartselle
It's no longer an area match up, but it's still the game every player on each team wants to win more than any other contest. The Tigers swept a doubleheader from the Bearcats Thursday night and finished the season with three wins in four games with their archrivals.
Hartselle 10, Cullman 2
The Tigers used an eight-run third inning to break open a tight game and cruise to the win. Trailing 2-1 entering the third, the Tigers rallied. Hunter Brasher got things started with a single, followed by a Chris Wiley single. A passed ball moved both runners up. Justin Hargett then grounded out to the right side of the infield scoring Brasher and moving Wiley to third. Jordan Parker followed with another ground out to the right and Wiley scored giving the Tigers the lead for good. Justin Youngblood then walked and moved second when Ja'Cote Ward was hit by a pitch. Joe McClanahan smashed a line drive off the third baseman's chest and the bases were loaded. Michael Scott then drove in Youngblood when a pitch hit him. Alex Thompson then drove in Ward with a single, as the bases remained loaded. Brasher then drew a walk scoring McClanahan. Wiley then cleared the bases with a double and the Tigers had a 9-2 lead.
Zach Smith threw six innings to improve to 7-2, as he allowed seven hits and struck out two. Chase Lusk threw an inning of relief and struck out one.
Brasher finished with two hits, one RBI and two runs scored, while Wiley had three RBIs, scored twice and had two hits. Hargett and Parker had one RBI each, while Youngblood and Ward scored once each. McClanahan had one hit and scored twice, while Scott and Thompson both had one hit, one RBI and scored one run each.
Hartselle 7, Cullman 6
The Tigers won in the eighth inning to wrap up the season series with the Bearcats at three wins and one loss. Hargett, who had a game-tying grand slam, finished with five RBIs and scored twice, while Brasher was five-for-five with a double and two runs scored. Ward had three hits and scored once, while Wiley scored two runs. Parker had one hit and a RBI, while Daxton Maze had a double. Keith McCaghren had a double and scored one run.
Andrew Reeves started and threw six innings, scattering 10 hits and allowing three earned runs, while striking out eight. Seth Watson followed with two innings of no-hit ball and Lusk finished up for the win with one inning.
Lusk allowed one hit and one earned run as he improved to 1-1 this season.
Mid-week doubleheader
In the opening game, the visitors stopped the Tigers six-game win streak, but in the nightcap Hartselle began a new one.
Pleasant Grove 10, Hartselle 9
The first game of a Wednesday night doubleheader went to the visitors as the Tigers surrendered a 3-0 second inning lead.
Watson started and threw five innings of four-hit ball, walked four and struck out four batters. Jacob Wray followed with two innings of no-hit ball and fanned two.
Reeves came in for the final inning and allowed three hits and two runs.
Brasher had three hits, including a double and stole a base, while Wiley had two hits, two RBIs and one steal. Ward had two hits, scored three times and stole two bases.
McClanahan had a home run and a double, while driving in two and scoring twice.
Scott had one hit, one RBI and scored two runs, while Thompson had two hits, scored twice and stole a base.
Hartselle 17, Pleasant Grove 8
In the nightcap the Tiger bats more than got the job done. Wiley was four-for-four with a home run, scored four times and drove in four more. Brasher had three hits, including a double, scored three runs and had a RBI.
Parker was three-for-three with a double and two runs scored, while driving in two runs.
Ward had two hits, including a double, drove in three runs, scored twice and stole a base. McClanahan had three hits, three RBIs and scored once, while Maze had three hits, one RBI and scored once.
McCaghren threw all seven innings to up his record to 4-2. He allowed 10 hits, walked three and struck out seven batters.
Saturday's games
Head coach William Booth promised the players a day off of practice if they won both games.
It was all the Tigers need to hear, as they would play only 10 innings on Saturday in whipping both Lee and Arab by the 10-run mercy rule.
Hartselle 12, Lee-Huntsville 2
After McCaghren sat down the Generals in order in the first inning, the Tigers would score five runs in the bottom of the frame.
Brasher walked to lead off the inning, followed by Wiley reaching on a fielders choice when Brasher broke up a double play with a hard slide at second.
Wiley stole second base and came home on a single by Hargett. Parker followed with a single to put runners on first and third.
Seth Watson would bring them both home with a three-run homer over the left field fence for a 4-0 Hartselle advantage.
Youngblood then singled and stole second base and scored on Ward's single.
In the second inning the Tigers added four more runs, Scott struck out but reached first base when the catcher dropped strike three.
Thompson singled to put runners on the corners.
While Thompson was stealing second base, Scott came home and scored the sixth Hartselle run. One batter later, Wiley walked followed by Hargett's single.
Parker then sent Thompson home with a single and Watson then walked to load the bases, followed by a two-RBI single by Ward.
In the third, Brasher doubled, but was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a triple. Wiley singled and TJ Long came on to run for him.
Hargett singled to put runners on the corners, followed by Parker's RBI single.
Chop came on to pitch the third inning and made one of the most unusual plays ever on the mound.
A line drive was hit back at him, which hit him in the chest and rolled over his shoulder and fell off his back. Chop caught the ball with the glove behind his back and just above his waist. McCaghren pitched two innings of one-hit ball to record the win and up his record to 4-2.
After Lee scored two runs in the fifth inning to cut the lead to 11-2, Berry, who was due to bat second in the inning, told teammates in the dugout, "I think I'll hit a walk-off home run."
Berry would in the day's second game, but TJ Long would do the honors of connecting for a game-winning homer, hitting a laser shot down the right field line for the 10-run margin.
Hartselle 14, Arab 0
Jacob Wray won with a five-inning three-hit performance to even his record at 1-1.
Brasher got the Tigers started off in the top of the first inning with a double.
He would score on Ward's single. Ward would then be picked off first base.
Hargett doubled, but was stranded. In the second inning, McClanahan doubled and TJ Long came on to pinch run. Long moved to third when Youngblood reaching on an error.
Long scored on a sacrifice fly by Maze. Scott singled and Brasher singled to drive in a run. Ward walked driving in Youngblood.
In the third, Parker singled and McClanahan doubled again putting runners on second and third.
Long again pinch ran for the Tiger's catcher. Youngblood drove in one with a single, followed by Maze's double. McCaghren singled in one run, followed by Berry reaching on a fielder's choice.
Brasher walked loading the bases, followed by Ward walking and driving in one run. Hargett followed with a two-run single.
In the fourth with an 11-0 lead, the Tigers scored their final three runs.
Youngblood and Maze singled and came home when Berry smashed a three-run homer to left.
Berry became the 10th different Tiger to homer this season.
The Tigers are now 31-14 with six regular season games remaining. They can clinch the 5A, Area 16 title with a win at Muscle Shoals.
Editors note – due to an early deadline, the score of Hartselle's game at Muscle Shoals on Tuesday was unavailable at press time.