End of the road
Cullman knocks Hartselle out of state title hunt
Charles Prince, Hartselle Enquirer
A different year, a different location, but the outcome was the same.
For the second straight year, the Cullman Bearcats topped the Hartselle Tigers in the state baseball semi-finals.
In 2003, it was a two-game sweep at Cullman that put the Bearcats in the state finals. In 2004 it took three games.
The Tigers Zack Andrews threw a four-hitter as he improved to 14-4 on the year. Andrews struck out two and walked one while not allowing a Bearcat runner past second base.
With the shutout Andrews' scoreless innings streak in post season play increased to 12 straight.
Hartselle head coach William Booth praised Andrews' pitching.
"Zack was dominating tonight," Booth said. "I don't think Cullman hit any balls hard all night."
The Tigers broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth inning. David Cameron singled to lead off the inning. He was replaced by pinch-runner Nick Bates. Bates stole second base and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Chris Kohlenberg.
Bates scored on a sacrifice fly to centerfield by Chris Wiley.
Hartselle would add three more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Brian Ellis led off the inning with a double down the right field line. Ellis was replaced by pinch-runner Kevin Clark. Clark would advance to third base when Logan Whitlow bunted and beat the throw to first base. Then Ja'Cote Ward brought both Clark and Whitlow home with a three-run blast over the left field fence.
Cullman left-hander Zac Ivey fired a three-hitter for the Bearcats as they evened the best-of-three series at one game each.
Cullman scored four runs in the second inning to grab the lead.
In the fifth inning, the Tigers would score two to cut the lead in half. Seth Watson singled with one out followed by a Brian Ellis doubled putting runners on second and third. Ellis was lifted for pinch-runner Nick Bates.
Logan Whitlow then drove in Watson with a sacrifice fly to left-center. Bates scored when Justin Youngblood singled to left field.
The Tigers scored two runs it the first inning of the decisive game.
Justin Youngblood led off the inning with a double down the right field line. Ja'Cote Ward then grounded out to second moving Youngblood to third.
Cameron was replaced by pinch-runner Kevin Clark. Chris Kohlenberg then drove in the first run of the game with a single to left.
Chris Wiley then singled to center driving in Clark and giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead. Seth Watson walked to load the bases. Brian Ellis then struck out ending the Hartselle rally. Cullman scored five in the second inning, five in the third and four more in the fourth. The game ended after five innings due to the 10-run rule. The Bearcats ended the season with a 35-18 record.