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Tigers to take on Fort Payne

For the second straight year, Hartselle will begin the Class 5A playoffs at Fort Payne, but the Tigers are hoping their season doesn’t end there this time.

The three-game series is slated to begin at 5 p.m. Friday with the second game following at 7 p.m. and a possible third game slated for 3 p.m. Saturday.

The Tigers (31-17) drew the Wildcats after splitting a four-game series with Cullman last week. However, the Bearcats won the games that counted toward the area record.

“I thought we played real well overall against Cullman,” Booth said. “We had trouble hitting in a couple of those games, but it was a good series to get prepare us for the playoffs.”

Fort Payne offers a pitcher that will throw in the upper-80 mph range. That speed is nothing new to the Tigers. Cullman’s ace pitcher Keegan Thompson threw more than 90 mph during the Thursday’s area game, but Hartselle only managed two base runners.

“I was a little disappointed that we didn’t hit better than what we did against Thompson,” Booth said. “He’s a great pitcher and he was very, very, very good on that day. So we have seen pitchers that can throw it hard, but I really don’t know how we’ll respond (against Fort Payne’s pitcher).”

Booth said Monday he wasn’t ready to select the pitching rotation for the weekend, but he feels confident in the six starters that he has on the team. He also said he’s still tinkering a bit with the lineup to put players in the right position.

“It depends on how they perform in practice this week,” Booth said. “We have about five or six guys who can start for us. It just depends on who’s ready for this weekend.

“We’re still trying to find out what’s our best lineup on the field and in the hitting rotation.”