Steele shines on senior night as Hartselle takes down Decatur

By Caleb Suggs
For the Enquirer

It was an emotional night Thursday at Sparkman Park as Hartselle defeated Decatur 12-2.

It was senior night for Hartselle’s baseball team, and the Tigers were honoring 11 seniors. But not only that, they were doing it in front of their legendary former coach.

Retired Hartselle head coach William Booth, who holds the state record of 1,183 wins, was in attendance. Having been battling sickness, it was the first game he attended this season.

The 11 seniors couldn’t have asked for a better gift.

“I had no idea he was going to be here,” said senior Alabama signee Peyton Steele. “It was a pleasant surprise. It’s so good to see him.”

For such a momentous occasion, Steele made sure to deliver a memorable performance. The senior finished the game with three hits and seven RBIs, including two home runs.

“It made me reminisce to my freshman year. I had a game where I hit three home runs,” Steele said. “I’m thankful, and I thank God every day that I’ve been able to play baseball here.”

One moment during the game saw Steele question a strike call that would’ve been ball four. A pitch later, he sent a grand slam over the fence.

“That’s just baseball sometimes. It did feel good to send it over though,” Steele said.

Hartselle will also say goodbye to 10 other seniors, eight of whom will play baseball in college. That includes Division I signees Jo Williamson (Alabama) and Cade Miles (Jacksonville State.)

“Culture matters,” said an emotional Hartselle coach Jake Miles. “The culture here is really good. These guys care about each other, and they play so well as a team together. Their chemistry is off the charts.”

In the game, Decatur came out hot, taking a 2-0 lead off a Trey Greenwell two-RBI double. But the Red Raiders struggled to keep up with Hartselle’s bats the rest of the way.

The Tigers took the lead 3-2 in the second inning off an RBI from Lawson Williams and a two-run homer from Steele, and they never looked back.

Brody Leathers added two hits for the Tigers, and Williams had a hit and two RBIs.

Sam Stephenson led Decatur with two hits, while Greenwell had a hit and two RBIs.

Next week Decatur will look to bounce back against Muscle Shoals in its final area series of the year. The Red Raiders are still in the driver’s seat for a playoff spot after defeating Cullman earlier this season.

With the series win over Decatur, Hartselle clinched a playoff spot and will look to clinch the area championship next week against Cullman.

“It’s time to go win another state championship,” Steele said.

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