Tigers take Southside in two
By By Todd Thompson, Hartselle Enquirer
Walton Ashwander’s sudden power surge came at a perfect time for the Hartselle Tigers.
Ashwander hit his first homer of the season to spark a 4-3 win in the opening game of the Tigers’ quarterfinal series with Southside Tuesday.
The Tigers added a 4-1 win in the second game to reach the 5A semifinals for the fifth time in the last seven years.
Hartselle, now 46-8, will host either Cullman or McAdory in the semifinals beginning Friday at Rueben Sims Field.
Southside finished 26-8 with the losses to Hartselle. The two teams split four games this season and three of the four were decided by one run.
Luke Bole scattered four hits to give Hartselle the win in the first game. He finished with nine strikeouts, before Chad Girodo pitched a perfect seventh to earn the save.
Robby Reese gave Hartselle the early lead when he singled to score pinch runner Josh Slaten.
Ashwander gave the Tigers a four-run advantage with his blast to left field.
The homer was his first of the season and just the third of his career.
Southside cut the lead to 4-3 with three runs in the fourth inning. Hunter Hayes drove in a run with an infield single and two more runs scored when Ricky Ray Clayton’s short fly to left fell in just inside the baseline.
Girodo scattered four hits in the second game to earn his 14th win of the season. He finished with nine strikeouts.
The senior ran into trouble in the second inning when Southside loaded the bases with three straight hits. Two of the hits were infield singles that Booth felt should have been fielded by the Tigers.
After striking out the next two batters, Girodo walked in Southside’s first run.
Hartselle tied the game in the fourth when Taylor Nelson walked with the bases loaded to score Zach Waddell.
The Tigers added two more runs in the fifth with the help of a Southside error and an RBI single by Bole.
Nelson drove in the final run of the game when he singled home Waddell in the seventh.
Garrett Turpentine pitched a perfect seventh in relief to earn the save for the Tigers.