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Hartselle beats Cullman in three games

Hartselle didn’t get a base hit in the final two innings, but it didn’t need to.

The Tigers with the bases loaded in the sixth inning, Brett Blackwood hit a high fly ball to Cullman’s second baseman, which scored Tyler Phillips from third and Deacon Aldridge from second base after the ball got by Cullman’s catcher. That broke the tie and gave Hartselle a 7-5 win over the homestanding Bearcats Saturday night.

Phillips said he wasn’t sure if assistant coach Jerry Childers told him to go home or not.

“I just knew they had a freshman at second base and maybe didn’t have as strong of an arm,” Phillips said. “So I went anyway and it worked out. When I got back to the dugout, I found out he did tell me to go.”

Hartselle coach William Booth also credited Aldridge with making a good play to score the second run for insurance.

“Deacon’s really got some good speed,” Booth said. “That was a great play for him score there.”

That allowed Aaron Wooley and the defense to close the door on the Bearcats, but not without some drama. Two Cullman batters got on base, bringing the winning run to the plate.

But neither crossed the plate as Hartselle advanced.

For two days, Hartselle and Cullman offered fans a little bit of everything – from a good pitching, hitting and defense to close plays and controversial calls.

The Tigers got on the board early as Blackwood started the scoring on an RBI single.

Cullman tied it up as an umpire called a balk on starting pitcher Jackson Smith. Then another base hit allowed Cullman to take the lead 2-1.

The Bearcats gave Hartselle a run on a throwing error that went into the Tigers’ dugout for a ground-rule double.

Kaleb Jones made an acrobatic catch of a line drive to help turn a double play and keep the score tied at 2-2.

Hartselle put together a two-out, three-run rally, thanks in part to a two-run double by Dax Gillespie, a ball that Booth said may have been a home run but was unable to appeal the decision before play resumed.

“I didn’t care whether it was a home run or not,” Gillespie said. “I was just glad to get the hit and score some runs for us.”

Cullman scored two runs when they loaded the bases in the fourth inning, but that would be the last time Cullman would score, as Hartselle found a way to score the winning runs.