Tigers fought to the end
Charles Prince, Sports Editor
These Hartselle Tigers never quit.
I can't recall seeing three games in which more bad breaks went against one team than all the breaks that went against Hartselle last weekend.
Dink hits just out of reach of Tigers' gloves, players slipping when making turns on the base paths, third-strike pitches not called for Tiger pitchers and a key injury. You name it. If it's a bad break in baseball, the Tigers saw it go against them in Pinson.
The Tigers collected more hits in each of the three games but only came out on top once.
The Pinson Valley team may have been the best hitting club the Tigers faced all season, but Hartselle had 10 more base hits in the series and still lost.
However, you have to credit the Tigers for never quitting. They played with heart and with hustle. Ja'Cote Ward made one of the best plays of the weekend when he scored from first on a single in the third inning of the second game. His effort typified the desire and hustle this club played the game with.
How about the playoff series Chris Wiley had? His bat was nearly perfect this weekend. Eleven hits in 13 trips to the plate. He had hits in eight consecutive at bats from the first inning of game two until being thrown out trying to bunt for a hit in the seventh inning of the third game.
His head-first dive at first base to beat out a hit in the second game showed this club's burning desire.
The Tigers fought back from the first game loss to put 16 hits and 13 runs on the board and tie the series. But in the third game they couldn't catch a break and lost a heart breaker.
Regardless of the playoff loss, the Tigers had a great season.
Thirty-nine wins and an unbeaten season in area play are both outstanding accomplishments. The win total came against a brutal schedule.
Next season several good arms and several good sticks return. So, the tradition of winning will undoubtedly continue at Ruben Sims field.
However, the playoff loss doesn't take away from the way this team played and how they carried themselves.
This season's senior class of Ward, Wiley, Justin Youngblood, Chris Russell, Seth Watson, Andrew Reeves, Zach Smith, Hunter Brasher, Kris Berry, Michael Scott, Cody Stisher, Chase Lusk and Josh Walters all played with a burning desire to win in each and every game.
They set an example the younger players on the team would do well to emulate next season.
The 2005 Hartselle Tiger baseball team didn't win a state title, but they gave everything they had each time they took the field and they never quit.
Even when the breaks went against them, they fought back like winners always do. That makes them champions in my book.