Primed for the playoffs
Hartselle wins 7 of last 10 games heading into the postseason
Justin Schuver, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle closed out its regular season with a 7-3 record in its last 10 games, including a tough road trip to Germantown, Tenn. The Tigers were 4-0 against area teams in that span and wrapped up their third-straight Area 16 championship with a doubleheader sweep of Russellville Friday.
Hartselle opened the playoffs with a first-round matchup against Pinson Valley at Ruben Sims Field Tuesday afternoon. Pinson Valley eliminated Hartselle from the postseason in 2005 after knocking off the Tigers in a best-of-three third round series.
The playoff game was not completed at press time. Please look in next week's issue of the Enquirer for full coverage.
Cline Thompson made the most of his opportunity.
The senior backup catcher hit a one-out bases-loaded RBI single to score the winning run in the bottom of the seventh and lead Hartselle to a win in its final regular season game Saturday night.
Down 4-3 heading into the bottom of the seventh, Quinn Dunlap led off with a hit and moved to second on Nathan Kimbrell's sacrifice bunt. Two batters later, Justin Hargett hit an RBI single to tie the game. Huntsville then walked both Jordan Parker and Joe McClanahan to get to Thompson, who delivered with the winning hit.
Thompson's hit made a winner of freshman pitcher Luke Bole, who went all seven innings and allowed three hits and just one earned run. He also struck out seven.
Hargett was 2-for-4 in the game and scored two runs and collected two RBIs.
The Tigers got two RBIs from Hargett. Josh Aycox scored a run and had an RBI and Keith McCaghren was 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Joe McClanahan finished 2-for-3 including a double.
J.C. Bates started for Hartselle, allowing five hits in three innings while striking out three. Chad Girodo took the loss in relief, pitching four innings and allowing three runs but only one of which was earned.
Hartselle 11, 2
Russellville 3, 0
With a doubleheader sweep of Russellville, the Tigers wrapped up their Area 16 championship and assured themselves of a home first-round playoff game.
McCaghren struck out four in a complete-game win for Hartselle in game one. At the plate, Jake Bradford finished 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs. Daxton Maze had a single and a home run and Dunlap finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Hargett was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and Kimbrell also scored two runs.
In game two, Will Rankin struck out six in six innings of work to get the win. J.C. Bates pitched a perfect seventh inning to pick up the save and close out the shutout.
McClanahan was 2-for-3 and scored a run.
A day earlier, Hartselle swept Athens in a doubleheader by the scores of 9-3 and 11-8.
Germantown (Tenn.) 4
Rankin picked up the complete-game win, allowing five hits and four runs while striking out four. McCaghren had a standout performance at the plate, finishing 3-for-4 with three RBIs and three runs scored. One of those three hits was a home run.
Hargett was 1-for-4 in the game with an RBI and a run scored. Parker finished 3-for-4 with a run scored and two doubles and Bradford was 1-for-4 with a home run. Dunlap finished 1-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored and Kimbrell was 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.
Colliersville (Tenn.) 9
Bradford's home run was the only run the Tigers could score as they were held to three hits by Colliersville pitching. McClanahan and Maze had the other two hits.
McCaghren took the loss, pitching three innings and striking out five while allowing five earned runs including the first home run he has allowed all season.
Houston (Tenn.) 3
Freshman Chad Girodo picked up the win on the mound for Hartselle, pitching the final 2.1 innings and allowing just one hit and no runs over that span.
Hargett was 4-for-5 in the game with an RBI and a run scored and Parker finished 2-for-4 with a two-RBI double. Maze scored a run and had two hits and Dunlap scored a run. Wes Chenault finished with an RBI and scored a run.
Bartlett (Tenn.) 4
Bates took the loss, allowing two earned runs and striking out two in the complete game. Hartselle managed just two hits in the contest, with Parker and Aycox both finishing 1-for-3 at the plate.