Hartselle baseball sweeps battle of ranked teams
The 6A No. 6 Hartselle Tigers hosted 6A No. 7 Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa and 5A No. 1 Russellville in a double-header Friday afternoon. The Tigers opened with a 5-4 victory over Hillcrest and followed that up with a 6-5 walk-off win over Russellville.
Hartselle 5, Hillcrest 4
The Tigers opened their doubleheader against the seventh-ranked Patriots of Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa.
The Patriots threatened in the top of the first as they loaded the bases with a double, single and a walk, but Elliott Bray gave up no runs when the inning was over.
Hartselle survived by nailing a runner at the plate and then turning a double play.
The Tigers had runners on in the bottom of the first and the second but couldn’t push anything across to leave the score tied at 0-0 heading to the third inning.
Catcher Glavive Segars opened the bottom of the third with a single to right. Eli Tidwell entered the game as a courtesy runner for Segars and stole second three pitches later.
Eli Snelson walked on the next pitch to give the Tigers runners at first and second.
Following a wild pitch, Tidwell and Snelson moved to second and third.
Drew Cartee singled and drove in Tidwell from third to give Hartselle a 1-0 lead. With Snelson at third, Cartee stole second, giving the Tigers two runners in scoring position.
Following a Bray flyout, Brodie Morrow singled to left, driving in Snelson and Cartee for a 3-0 Hartselle lead.
Hillcrest would battle back in the top of the fifth with three runs to tie the game at 3-3. Two Hartselle errors in the inning helped the Patriots get back in the game.
The Tigers came back in the bottom of the fifth and regained the lead following a single by Bray and a double by freshman Peyton Steele, which gave Hartselle runners at second and third with one out.
Blaze Gillespie gave the Tigers the lead back with a double to centerfield that scored Bray and Steele for a 5-3 lead.
The Patriots pushed across a run in the top of the seventh, but the tying run was cut down at the plate after a play by freshman JoJo Williamson.
Bray and Cartee each had two hits for Hartselle, while Morrow and Gillespie each had two RBIs.
Bray picked up the win after going 6.2 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits while striking out six. Colby Widner picked up the save by getting the final out of the seventh in relief of Bray.
Hartselle 6, Russellville 5
The No. 1-ranked Golden Tigers, coached by former Hartselle Tiger Chris Heaps, jumped out in front with a run in the top of the second to grab a 1-0 lead.
Hartselle battled back in the bottom of the inning to grab a 2-1 lead after runs by Morrow and Steele.
Russellville retook the lead, 5-2, in the top of the third with four runs following two hits and five walks.
The Tigers got back in the game with two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Following a Morrow single, Tidwell entered the game as a pinch-runner. With one out, Gillespie doubled to right field, scoring Tidwell from first, to make the score 5-3.
Gillespie would later advance to third on a passed ball and then score on another passed ball to make the score 5-4.
Trailing 5-4 in the bottom of the seventh, the Tigers loaded the bases following two walks and an infield single by Gillespie but were down to their last out. After being down two strikes, Coleman Mizell picked up a bases-loaded walk to tie the game at 5-5 to send it to extra innings.
JT Blackwood shut the Russellville offense down over the eighth and ninth innings, allowing no hits and no runners.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Tigers loaded the bases with a Gillespie double, Mizell bunt single and Williamson walk. Seagars, on a 3-2 count, hit a sac-fly to left field that drove home Chapman, who was running for Gillespie, for the 6-5 walk-off win.
Gillespie led the Hartselle attack with three hits, a run and an RBI. Cartee, Morrow and Mizell each had two hits for the Tigers. Mizell added two RBIs, with Williamson and Seagars adding one each.
Blackwood earned the win in relief of starter Cartee and reliever Turner. Blackwood allowed one hit in three innings and struck out two; Cartee allowed five runs on three hits in 2.2 innings while striking out five; and Turner allowed two hits and struck out eight.