Hartselle rolls to Area 15 title
By By Todd Thompson, Hartselle Enquirer
With an area championship already wrapped up, Hartselle senior Chad Girodo put the finishing touches on the Tigers’ title with a solid performance Tuesday in a 10-0 victory over Athens at Reuben Sims Field.
The Tigers added a 7-4 win over the Golden Eagles in the second game to improve to 34-7 overall heading into the final weekend of the regular season.
The Tigers wrapped up the Class 5A, Area 15 championship with the win in the first game. Hartselle finished 6-0 in area games this season, sweeping all six doubleheaders with area opponents.
Hartselle continued a torrid streak that started in the Hoover Invitational in March. Since the opening of the tournament, the Tigers have won 22 of their last 24 games. The only teams to beat the Tigers during that stretch are Hoover and Southside of Gadsden.
Southside, a team that the Tigers could face in the third round of the Class 5A playoffs, has handed Hartselle two of its seven losses this season.
Hartselle scored six runs in the bottom of the first inning to give Girodo a comfortable margin early. Luke Bole slammed a 3-run homer to cap the inning.
The Tigers added two runs in the third inning when Josh Doyle drove in a run with a triple and Walton Ashwander pushed another run across with a groundout that scored Doyle from third.
Bole hit his team-leading 11th homer - a solo shot - in the fourth to put the game out of reach.
Girodo earned his 11th win of the season with another strong performance on the mound. He allowed just two hits over four innings before letting Ryan Joy finish up in the fifth inning.
Doyle, David Reeves and Nic Howards had two hits each for the Tigers in the opening win.
Hartselle jumped on Athens in the second game with the help of three first-inning walks that turned into three runs. The Tigers held off a late Athens rally to pick up the team’s 34th win of the season.
Garrett Turrentine went the distance for the Tigers to earn the win.
Hartselle had just six hits in the second game, but those hits were costly for Athens.
Athens scored all four of its runs in the final four innings but never took the lead from the second-ranked Tigers.
Zach Waddell, Turrentine and Taylor Nelson all received walks in the first inning to set up Doyle’s 2-run single. Walton Ashwander added a single to score Nelson for the 3-0 lead.
Athens trimmed the gap to 3-2 with a two-run homer in the top of the fourth inning.
Hartselle’s Ryan Joy gave the Tigers a little bit of breathing room in the bottom of the fifth inning when he drilled a pitch over the scoreboard. The two-run homer was his 10th of the season.
Joy finished the second game with two hits. Doyle added two hits, while Walton Ashwander and Reeves both had a hit and an RBI for the Tigers.
The Tigers scored two more runs in the bottom of the sixth when Reeves had a sacrifice bunt to drive a run home and Joy added an RBI double.
Hartselle will return to action this weekend with four games scheduled in Tennessee. The Tigers will battle Collierville and Barklett Friday in Barklett, Tenn., with games Saturday against Illinois High School and Houston in Houston, Tenn.
The first round of the Class 5A state playoffs begins Friday, April 17 with a best-of-three series for the Tigers at Reuben Sims Field.
Hartselle 9, Athens 0
Garrett Turrentine had a homer and a triple to spark Hartselle’s 9-0 victory over Athens in the first game of a doubleheader Monday on the road.
Turrentine finished with five RBIs in the win.
Luke Bole went the distance for the Tigers to earn the shutout. He also had two hits with an RBI for Hartselle.
Hartselle 9, Athens 1
Garrett Turrentine had four hits as Hartselle beat Athens 9-1 in the second game of a doubleheader.
Turrentine had two doubles and two singles in the win. He finished with three RBIs for the Tigers.