Hartselle takes best-of-three series from Mortimer Jordan; now travels to Cullman
Nick Johnston, Hartselle Enquirer
Pinson Valley … 3
Albertville … 3
Mortimer Jordan … 3
The Hartselle Tigers baseball team keeps mowing down their opponents in the Class 5A State Playoffs.
Their latest victim? Mortimer Jordan.
Hartselle lost the first game of the best-of-three series, but rallied for two straight wins to advance.
Mortimer Jordan won the first game 1-0, while Hartselle won the second game 8-1 and third 7-3.
Hartselle now travels to Cullman Friday for a chance to go to the Class 5A State Championship Series. The first game of the semi-finals is scheduled for 4 p.m. in another best-of-three series.
Mortimer Jordan 1, Hartselle 0
Jonathan Wallace led off with a single for the Tigers. It was his only hit of the game.
In fact, it was the only hit for Hartselle in the entire game.
The game began Friday but was called off after just 1/2 inning of play due to lightning. Joey Watson started the game (Friday), but Tyler Eddy went to the mound to finish the game Saturday.
Eddy, who allowed one run on three hits, suffered the loss. He allowed the only run of the game in the sixth inning.
Hartselle's best opportunity to score came in the third inning.
Eric Grisham was hit by a pitch, Blake Heym reached on an error and Hodge Patterson
See PATTERSON, B-3
was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs. David Cameron, however, flied out to left field, as Hartselle stranded three.
Ryan Keedy got the win. He allowed no runs on one hit and struck out nine. He walked one and hit three.
Mortimer Jordan 1
In a complete turnaround from game one, at least at the plate, the Tigers forced a game three with a win.
Hartselle head coach William Booth said on the mound, the two games were similar.
"I thought we had good pitching both games," he said. "In the first game, (starting pitcher Keedy) just outmanned us."
The stars of game two were Chris Wiley and Tyler Reeves. Combined, the pair went 7 for 8 with four RBIs and three runs scored.
Wiley, a designated hitter who bats seventh in the order, went 4 for 4 with a two run home run in the seventh inning. He also had two stolen bases.
Reeves went 3 for 4 with a sixth inning home run.
Jonathan Wallace scored the game's first run in the opening inning.
An errant pick off attempt at third base allowed Wallace to cross the plate.
The Tigers took a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning when Zac Ward reached on an error. Heym scored on the play.
Hartselle added three more runs in the sixth. Zack Smith led off the frame with an opposite field home run. Later in the inning, Reeves hit his two run homer, putting the Tigers ahead 5-0.
Hartselle starting pitcher Joey Watson then found himself in a jam.
With runners on first and second and no outs, Watson gave up a double to Matt Horton, scoring Brad Edwards.
Perhaps it was the wake up call Watson needed, as the senior lefty-righty struck out the next three batters.
The Tigers scored three more runs in the seventh. David Cameron singled home Ward, as Wiley followed with a two run blast.
Watson allowed one run on three hits and struck out eight. He had relief help from Brandon Wallace in the seventh. Wallace retired Mortimer Jordan's side in order.
Mortimer Jordan starting pitcher Pat Allison allowed five runs on 10 hits and struck out five. He lasted 5.1 innings before giving way to Clint Ballard in the sixth.
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Zach Andrews made two mistakes – both mistakes to the same batter.
However, the junior appeared to fool Mortimer Jordan's batters all Sunday evening long, as he led Hartselle to the rubber game win.
"(Zach) has been behind Eddy and Watson all year long," Booth said. "But, he's always stepped in there and had a good game for us. He pitched good today."
Only one Mortimer Jordan batter figured out his curveball – Ryan Keedy.
Keedy homered in his first two plate appearances, and helped his team to a 3-2 lead.
Otherwise, Andrews could do no wrong.
"If you can throw a curveball for a called strike, then you can win at any level," Booth said. "He can throw the curveball for a called strike."
Hartselle won the game despite leaving 10 runners on base. A statistic Booth couldn't help overlook.
"I thought we were very fortunate to win, leaving so many runners in scoring position," he said. "We just kept battling and battling, and they walked a lot. When you walk a lot, that's the same as a hit."
Mortimer Jordan pitchers walked eight batters and hit another.
Mortimer Jordan led 3-2 after the fourth inning, thanks to Keedy's homers, but Hartselle was able to take the lead for good in the fifth.
With bases filled with Tigers and one out, Hodge Patterson, who went 2 for 4 with a pair of RBIs, pulled a ground ball down the third base line to score both Blake Heym and Nick Bates. Bates was running for David Cameron
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Mortimer Jordan made its final push for a run. With the bases loaded, Andrews had the biggest strikeout of the year, perhaps, when he sat down Matt Horton on strikes.
A pair of runs in the sixth inning gave Hartselle a 6-3 advantage.
Grisham scored on Jonathan Wallace's double, while Zac Ward singled home Wallace from second.
Andrews struck out the side in the bottom of the sixth, while the Tigers provided him another run to work with in the final inning of the contest.
Wallace hit a RBI single, scoring Chris Wiley.
Andrews allowed three runs on five hits. He struck out 9 and walked three.
The Tigers blasted Mortimer Jordan starter Zac Blakney for six runs on nine hits. Blakney struck out eight, walked eight and hit a batter.
Wallace and Heym led the Tigers at the plate. Wallace went 2 for 5 with two RBIs and a run scored, while Heym went 2 for 3 with a run scored and a RBI. Heym also walked twice.