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End of the road

By Staff
Seventh-inning run knocks Tigers out of playoffs
Charles Prince, Hartselle Enquirer
PINSON – The end was sudden. A throw from right field to the plate was a little off line and the winning run scored in the bottom of the final inning of best-of-three series between Pinson Valley and Hartselle. The run meant another outstanding season for Tiger baseball had ended after 39 wins and a No. 4 state ranking.
During the three-game set it appeared all the breaks went the Indians way as the Tigers collected 32 hits to only 22 for the home team. Hartselle had more base hits in each of the three games, but managed to win only once.
"We missed out on some chances to score a few more runs and we didn't," Hartselle coach William Booth said. "They had a dink hit in the last inning that really hurt us, but that's baseball. Sometimes the breaks don't go your way."
Game one
Pinson Valley 6, Hartselle 1
The Tigers took the early lead with a single run in the top of the first inning. Chris Wiley walked and moved to third on Justin Hargett's single. He would score on Jordan Parker's single to right. The Tigers wouldn't score again in spite of collecting eight hits to only six for the Indians. Hargett and Parker both had three-for-four games at the plate. Wiley, Ja'Cote Ward and Michael Scott added singles.
Chris Russell took the loss throwing three innings of six-hit ball and allowing six runs.
Game two
Hartselle 13, Pinson Valley 10
The Tigers out-hit the Indians 16-12 as they evened the series at a game a piece. Pinson Valley scored three runs in the top of the first, but the Tigers answered with one run in the bottom of the frame. Wiley doubled and scored on Parker's single back through the midde. After Pinson had increased the lead to 4-1, the Tigers answered with three runs in the second to force a tie. Ward got aboard when he was hit by a pitch, followed by Daxton Maze's single to left. Keith McCaghren then tripled in both runners, but he was thrown out at the plate when he tried to score on Hunter Brasher's single. Brasher moved to third on Wiley's single. He came home on Hargett's sacrifice fly to deep left field.
The Tigers scored two in the third to take the lead for good. Joe McClanahan singled and Ward was hit by a pitch again. They both scored on McCraghen's single. Ward hustling all the way from first took off from third after the Pinson Valley catcher threw to second to hold McCaghren at first.
Hartselle put two more runs up in the fourth when Wiley and Hargett singled to open the inning. Wiley came home on Justin Youngblood's single, while Hargett scored on Ward's base hit.
After Pinson cut the lead to 8-5, the Tigers added four runs in the fifth. McCaghren singled and Brasher walked. They both scored on Wiley's double to right.
Wiley came home on Parker's double. Then Parker scored on McClanahan's second hit of the game.
Ward would score in the sixth inning for the final Tiger run.
Andrew Reeves improved to 12-2 with five-and-a-third innings of work in relief of Zach Smith.
Wiley went five-for-five at the plate with three RBIs and three runs scored. McCraghren had three hits and three RBIs and scored once.
Brasher had two hits and scored twice, while Hargett had one hit, stole a base and scored one run.
Parker had two hits, drove in two and scored once, while McClanahan had two hits and two RBIs. Ward had a double, a RBI and scored three runs, while Maze and Youngblood had one hit each.
Game three
Pinson Valley 6, Hartselle 5
The Tigers put five runs on the board in the fourth inning. Parker and McClanahan opened the inning with singles.
Parker then came home on Ward's hit followed by a walk by Maze.
McCaghren then sent two runners home with a base hit back through the middle. Wiley then brought Maze and McCaghren home with a base hit to right.
Pinson responded with four runs in the bottom of the frame.
The Tigers would leave two runners on in the final three innings leaving the door open for the Indians to come back. In the bottom of the seventh Pinson Valley loaded the bases with no outs thanks to two bloop hits and scored the winning run on a base hit to right.
Wiley finished three-for-four at the plate with two RBIs, while Parker had one hit and scored once. McClanahan had two hits and scored once, while Ward had one hit, one run scored and one RBI. Maze walked and scored, while McCaghren had one hit, two RBIs and scored once.
The Tigers ended their season with a 39-18 record.
First-round game
Hartselle 17, West End 0
The Hartselle Tigers moved into the second round of the 5A state baseball playoffs with an easy 17-0 win over West End-Birmingham in only five innings.
Tiger starter Andrew Reeves improved to 11-2 as he struck out five of the six Lion batters he faced. Reeves, Zach Smith and Chase Lusk combined for a perfect game as they struck out 12 of the 15 Lion batters who came to the plate.
Reeves opened the game by striking out the side on only 12 pitches in the top of the first, while Smith would strike out the side on only 11 pitches in the fourth inning.
"Our pitching was nothing short of dominating tonight," Booth said. "I think our pitchers just overpowered them for all five innings."
Brasher led off the game with a double and scored on a Hargett single.
Parker and Watson added RBI singles to give the Tigers a 4-0 lead heading into the second inning.
Brasher added a three-run homer in the third inning to end the night with two runs scored and four RBIs.
Maze had a solo shot of his own in the fourth inning and Nathan Kimbrell added a two-run double in his only at-bat.
The Tigers collected five doubles, stole five bases and drew nine bases on balls as they scored one run in the second inning and six runs each in the third and fourth.
"I'm happy to get out of the single-elimination round and get onto the two-of-three round this weekend," Booth said.