Tigers’ baseball starts season with three quality wins
The Hartselle Tigers’ baseball team, 6A defending state champs, opened their 2023 season with wins over preseason 6A No.2 Oxford and No. 3 Mountain Brook, along with 7A Chelsea at the PBR AL Kickoff Classic.
The No. 1 Tigers look like a team ready to fight for another State Championship after the opening weekend.
Hartselle 4, Oxford 2
The Tigers (1-0) plated two runs in the third inning to take a 2-0 lead over the Yellow Jackets. Oxford tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the fifth. Hartselle pushed across a run in the bottom of the fifth to retake the lead and a run in the sixth to secure the victory over the second-ranked Yellow Jackets.
Senior Coleman Mizell and junior Peyton Steele combined for four hits and two RBIs to lead the Tigers. Landon Blackwood scored twice, while Walker Hoyle and Steele each scored a run.
Nic Chumley picked up the win in 3.0 innings of relief of starting pitcher Jack Smith. Smith pitched 4.0 innings of no-hit ball, striking out eight and walking two. Chumley (1-0) gave up two runs on two hits while striking out five to get the win.
Hartselle 8, Chelsea 0
Hartselle (2-0) scored one run in the top of the first, proving to be the game-winner. They added four in the fourth and single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh to seal the shutout victory over Chelsea.
Lawson Williams finished 4-for-4 with two runs scored to lead the Tigers, while Cam Palahach was 2-4 with an RBI. Cade Miles was 2-for3 with a run scored, a stolen base and an RBI. Steele had a double and three RBI. Eli Tidwell had a hit, two runs scored, two stolen bases and two RBI.
Greyson Howard (1-0) started the game and went 6.0 innings, allowing only two hits while striking out 12. Blackwood pitched the seventh, striking out two.
Hartselle 9, Mountain Brook 7
Hartselle and Mountain Brook combined for eight runs in the first two innings, with the Tigers (3-0) holding a 5-3 lead. Mountain Brook added two in the fourth to tie the game at 5-5. The game remained scoreless until the top of the ninth when Hartselle plated four runs to take a 9-5 lead. The Spartans threatened with two runs in the bottom of the ninth, but the Tigers held on for the 9-7 win.
Steele was 4-for-5, hitting for the cycle, with three runs scored and three RBI to lead Hartselle. Mizell was 2-of-3 with two walks, two runs scored and an RBI. Howard was 0-for-4 with a sac fly and two RBI. Palahach and Jake England also had RBI for the Tigers.
Issac Nicholson got the start and last 1.1 innings, allowing two hits and three earned runs. Andrew Coleman pitched 2.2 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits. Tidwell (1-0) pitched 4.0 innings to pick up the win. He allowed two runs (one earned) while striking out eight. Blackwood earned the save with a scoreless ninth inning.
Hartselle (3-0) will head to the Gulf Coast for five games starting Thursday evening. They open with Orange Beach on Thursday before a doubleheader with 7A No. 7 Tuscaloosa County and 6A No. 5 Saraland. They will close the trip with a Saturday doubleheader with 5A No. 8 Gulf Shores and 6A Spanish Fort.