Hartselle crushes Generals
By By Todd Thompson, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle’s hot streak continued into the first round of the state playoffs Friday as the Tigers swept Lee in a Class 5A doubleheader, winning 7-0 and 9-1.
The Tigers improved to 40-8 overall with the pair of wins, becoming the first team in the state to reach the 40-win mark this season.
The wins were also the 27th and 28th wins in the Tigers’ last 30 games. Hartselle’s only losses during that stretch were to Class 6A Hoover and Collierville, the top-ranked team in Tennessee.
Hartselle closed out Lee’s season with two impressive pitching performances from Luke Bole and Chad Girodo, and homers from Bole, Ryan Joy and Josh Doyle.
Bole and Girodo, both Mississippi State signees, limited Lee to just six hits over 13 innings.
Hartselle, seeking its seventh state championship and first since 2000, will face East Limestone on the road Friday in the second round. The Tigers beat the Indians by 10 runs in a earlier game this season.
Friday’s doubleheader will begin at 5 p.m., while a third and deciding game will be at 12:30 p.m. Saturday if necessary.
Hartselle broke open the first game with six runs in the bottom of the second inning to give Bole plenty of support.
Walton Ashwander drove in a run with a single and Zach Waddell scored two more with a single. But the inning’s biggest blow was a 2-run homer by Bole that gave the Tigers a commanding 6-0 lead.
The homer was Bole’s 15th homer of the season. He trails Pleasant Grove’s Chazz Otwell, who has 16 homers, for the state lead.
Hartselle added one final run in the 7-0 victory in the bottom of the sixth inning when Bole singled and pinch runner Josh Slaten scored on a wild pitch.
Bole finished with nine strikeouts in the win, including six of the final seven batters he faced. He allowed three hits
In the nightcap, Hartselle again had a big second inning to post a comfortable margin early. The Tigers scored four runs against the Generals in the inning with two hits. Ryan Joy hit a monstrous 3-run homer to highlight the inning.
Chad Girodo improved to 13-1 after scattering three hits over six innings. He finished with 10 strikeouts and picked off a Lee runner at first in the win.
Ashwander added an RBI single for the Tigers to push the lead to 4-0.
Taylor Nelson added to the lead when he drove in a run in the third inning with a groundout.
Josh Doyle hit the Tigers’ third homer of the night - a solo shot in the fifth inning that pushed Hartselle’s lead to 6-0.
Hartselle added three runs in the top half of the sixth inning with an RBI single by Waddell and an error on a routine fly by Robby Reese to shortstop that was bobbled by the Lee fielder, allowing two more runs to score.
Garrett Turrentine came on to finish the game in the seventh inning, allowing the Generals’ only run of the night before getting the final out to wrap up the sweep.