Girodo, Bates shut down Gardendale hitters
By By Todd Thompson, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle dominated Gardendale with its potent offensive attack Friday night in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs.
The Tigers’ 20-run output against the Rockets was more than enough to sweep the best-of-three series with 12-2 and 8-2 wins.
Hartselle will host Russellville in the quarterfinals Friday at Rueben Sims Field. The two teams met earlier in the season with the Tigers taking a 4-3 victory.
Russellville needed three games to get past Mortimer Jordan in its second round series.
Hartselle used a couple of big innings to dominate Gardendale - a eight-run outburst in the second inning of the opening game and scored six more in the first inning of the second game.
And that was more than enough offense for the Tigers’ pitching tandem of Chad Girodo and J.C. Bates.
Girodo struck out nine in the opening game to keep the Rockets in check, while Bates followed with a 12-strikeout performance in the nightcap.
Girodo pushed his record to 7-4.
Hartselle improved to 32-9 overall with the win. Gardendale ends its season with a 28-11 mark.
Girodo ran into a little trouble early in the first game, surrendering three straight hits, including a two-run double by Adam Irwin.
But the Hartselle junior got out of the inning with two straight strikeouts. Girodo had seven strikeouts through the first three innings.
Hartselle exploded with six runs in the bottom half of the second inning with eight hits, including a 3-run homer by Zack Waddell.
The Tigers sent 11 players to the plate in the inning with Waddell coming away with two hits.
Mike Hasse, Walton Ashwander, Tony Weaver, Will Chappell and Garrett Turrentine all drove in runs in the second inning.
Hartselle added to the lead when Chappell singled and scored on an error in the fourth inning.
The game ended in five innings when Luke Bole drove a pitch deep into the parking lot in right field off Gardendale starter David Roberts, who went all five innings.
The Rockets’ game two starter Bobby Williams didn’t last nearly as long before the Hartselle hitters chased him from the mound.
Andrew Buckey came on to relieve Roberts and ended the inning with a strikeout.
The Tigers had six singles off Williams and took advantage of a pair of Gardendale errors to take a 6-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
And that was more than enough for Bates.
Chappell, Waddell and Bole all drove in runs for the Tigers in the second game.
Hartselle pushed the lead to 7-0 in the second when Turrentine was hit by a pitch and pinch-runner Luke Holt on a foul out by Nic Howard.
Gardendale scored its only two runs in the third inning off Bates with three hits to trim the Hartselle advantage to 7-2.
But Bates, now 12-2 on the year, retired 12 of the next 15 batters he faced to keep the Rockets in check.
Hartselle’s Ethan Widener scored the final run of the game in the fourth when he doubled and came in on a fielder’s choice by Bole.