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Tigers clinch playoff berth

Mason Towers pitches a six-inning shutout against Austin March 25 at Reuben Sims Field. | Brent Maze
Mason Towers pitches a six-inning shutout against Austin March 25 at Reuben Sims Field. | Brent Maze

The No. 6 Hartselle Tigers are headed back to the playoffs after sweeping four area games with Austin March 24 and 25.

The Tigers (16-6, 4-0) will face No. 1 Cullman April 7 at home and April 9 on the road for the area championship.

In the first game, Mason Towers shut down the Black Bears in a 10-0 win. He scattered four hits with four strikeouts and no walks.

Zeth Malcolm paced the Tiger attack with a 3-for-3 outing including a double and a solo home run. Brady Netherton was 2-for-3 with two runs while Collins Hanners was 2-for-4 with a run.

Tate Mathis got Hartselle on the board with a three-run home run in the third inning. Austin Parker followed it up with a solo home run of his own.

An error and a passed ball resulted in two more Tiger runs in the stanza.

Lane Anders came home on Hayden Bradford’s sacrifice fly before Malcolm’s home run in the fifth inning.

Will Foote drove in the final two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to end the game. Collin Blackwood and Anders had the other two hits.

In game two, Hartselle made some seventh-inning magic, rallying from a 4-1 deficit to win 5-4 without getting a hit.

Netherton started the rally with being hit by a pitch and later scored on a passed ball. Mathis drew a bases-loaded walk to score Bradford.

Malcolm scored on a wild pitch, and Jake Chaney was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to score Anders.

Netherton had the only hit against Austin’s Phillip Garland, but the Tigers drew 11 walks and four hit batters in the win.

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