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Hartselle Enquirer

Game Three…. All or Nothing!

Taylor Easterling lays out for a ball in game three of Hartselle's series vs Cullman. | Tom Chappell
Taylor Easterling lays out for a ball in game three of Hartselle’s series vs Cullman. | Tom Chappell

#2 Hartselle falls to #1 Cullman in highly anticipated rubber match

Caleb Suggs

Hartselle Enquirer

The anticipation had built up until not even the city of Cullman could hold it any longer when the Hartselle Tigers traveled to take on the Cullman Bearcats for what would be the last time this season. The Cats had seemed to have the Tigers number the past couple years as they swept Hartselle to make it into the playoffs and brought in a 17 game win streak into the series. Cullman even took game one in the series but Hartselle managed to take game two in a fierce nine-inning game to break the streak and force game 3. Now the two biggest baseball rivals in Alabama, winners of a combined 12 state championships since 1990, and the top two teams in class 6a were set to do battle in a win or go home game that had huge title implications. Hard to believe it was only a second round playoff game.

Early on, Cullman would take control of the game. Colby Robinson would knock in a double to start the first inning. Robinson would score thanks to an error by Hartselle and Cullman would take the lead 1-0. Hartselle would attempt to take control back in the second inning. Taylor Easterling and Austin Parker would knock in singles to start the inning. Connor Burks would be hit by a pitch to load the bases with just one out. However, Cullman Pitcher Owen Lovell would record two straight outs to end the inning with no damage.

In the third inning, Cullman would try to increase their lead even more. Lovell and Levi Thomas would be walked to start the inning. Noah Fondren would drive in Thomas when he singled to make the score 2-0. However, Hartselle would get the momentum boost to end the inning when they caught Lovell stealing home.

Hartselle would try to climb back into the game in the fifth inning when Riley Wood singled to start the inning and then advanced to second. It looked as if they would get the rally going as Hayden Bradford blasted a line drive to short that looked sure to be a single. However, Cullman shortstop Robinson would lay out for a diving catch and then throw out the shocked Wood at second to force a double play and end the inning.

Hartselle would get one more crack at the win in the seventh inning still trailing 2-0. Parker would single to get on base with just 1 out but then Hartselle would ground out into a double play as Cullman took the win and advanced on to the third round. Hartselle pitcher Ben Kimbrough pitched a strong game as he allowed 2 runs with 4 hits through 6 innings. The Tigers finished a great season with a 34-20 record and a #2 ranking.

 

 

 

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