Hartselle’s pitching dominates Minor in second-round sweep
The Hartselle Tigers swept another opponent out of the playoffs with two stellar pitching performances by the present and future of their pitching staff. Freshman Jace Meadows and senior Jack Smith, an Arkansas signee, combined to all only one hit in 10 innings as Hartselle swept Minor in round two of the 6A state playoffs.
“Our plan Friday was to come out again and focus on us. We believe the only thing we can control is us, and we focus on being the best we can each pitch and at-bat,” Hartselle assistant coach Jake Miles said. “I thought we were pressing a little at the plate early as a team, but our pitching did a great job of forcing contact and pounding the strike zone, which put Minor on the defensive. Then, the second time through the lineup, we made some adjustments and strung some hits together.”
Game one: Hartselle 10, Minor 0
In his third start of the season, Meadows pitched six innings to pick up the win. He allowed only one hit and one walk while striking out six. The hit and the walk that he allowed came in the final inning, but he was able to work around them to complete the game.
“I thought Jace Meadows stepped up and competed when called on Friday,” Miles said. “He has been working hard this season, and every time we give him opportunities, he makes the most of them. Our team believes in him, and we have confidence in what he can do when he takes the mound. He does not back down at all.”
The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the first when Eli Tidwell scored on an error on Coleman Mizell’s infield hit. They extended their lead to 2-0 in the third when JoJo Williamson’s infield single brought home Mizell.
Hartselle added two runs in the fourth as Greyson Howard and Cade Miles scored to make it 4-0.
The offense exploded for five runs in the fifth inning when the Tigers put together five hits, including a Mizell triple and doubles by Lawson Williams and Howard. Miles and Brody Leathers also had hits in the inning as the Tigers extended their lead to 9-0.
Howard ended the game in the bottom of the sixth when he drove home Walker Hoyle to make the score 10-0.
Howard led the offense with three hits, including two doubles and two RBI, while Cade Miles added three hits and two runs scored. Mizell added a triple and two RBI.
Game two: Hartselle 10, Minor 0
Smith, a senior, tossed his second consecutive no-hitter in the Tigers’ 10-0 win over Minor in game two of the series. He missed out on a second perfect game when he gave up a walk in the fifth inning. However, he struck out 13 of the 16 batters he faced.
“Jack was just being Jack. He is our ace, and he has pitched like it,” Miles said. “His last few outings have been great. He has dictated the tempo, controlled and pounded the zone, competed, and forced contact. He allows our defense to play, and they pick him up. Super proud of him and how he helps our team.”
Hartselle scored three in the first, one in the second and six in the fourth to seal the game two victory and the series.
Peyton Steele led the Tigers with two hits, including a home run and three RBI. Mizell had two hits and two runs scored, while Howard and Miles combined for four RBI.
It will be a battle of the top two teams in 6A when top-ranked Oxford visits No. 2 Hartslle in the state quarterfinals. The teams played earlier this season, with the Tigers prevailing 4-2 in a game played the first week of the season at Vestavia Hills.