Tigers win ninth state championship
The Hartselle Tigers sit alone at the top of 6A baseball after defeating Pelham 10-2 in Game Two of the 6A State Championship Series. The Tigers won Game One 5-1 on Thursday.
The championship is Hartselle’s ninth overall and first in Class 6A. The Tigers last brought home a blue map in 2013 when they were in Class 5A.
The Tigers took a 2-0 lead when Greyson Howard and Walker Hoyle scored on two sacrifice flies.
Ironically, the Tigers’ first two runs in the Championship clinching win came on the same controversial play in last season’s final game.
The Tigers tacked on a run when Brodie Morrow doubled and scored following a Pelham error and wild pitch. Morrow’s run made the score 3-0.
The Panthers got to Elliott Bray, an Auburn signee, in the bottom of the third when they scored to make it 3-1 and had runners at first and third. But Bray got out of trouble with back-to-back strikeouts, giving him seven through the first three innings.
Hartselle busted the game wide open in the top of the fifth when they plated seven runs to make the score 10-1. The Tigers got RBIs from Bray, Cam Palahach, Cade Miles, Jo Jo Williamson, Coleman Mizell, and Morrow.
There was an altercation between the Pelham catcher and Peyton Steele at the plate after Steele scored on Mizell’s double to left. During the altercation, Bray stepped onto the field and was ejected because of coming onto the field. The ejection ended Bray’s game and his consecutive complete-game streak at three. He had six this season.
Bray picked up the win after throwing four innings and striking out eight. He allowed one run on one hit.
Jack Smith, who was playing right field, moved to the mound in relief of Bray. He gave up one run over the final three innings as he picked up the save.
Here is the game’s final pitch.
Auburn signee William Turner was named the series MVP after his complete-game performance in Game One. He gave up one run on five hits while striking out nine.
Not only was the championship the ninth for Hartselle, but it was also the ninth for Tigers’ coach William Booth. He won his first just two seasons after taking over as head coach.
Since being named head coach, Booth has become the winningest coach in Alabama High School baseball history with a record of 1,145 – 497.
The Tigers finished the season 39-4 and on a 24-game winning streak.