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Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle second baseman Connor Burks makes a throw to first base. | Caleb Suggs

Huge sixth inning leads Hartselle over Hueytown

Caleb Suggs

Hartselle Enquirer

The Hartselle Tigers game one win over the Hueytown Golden Gophers in the third round of the AHSAA playoffs didn’t come easy Saturday. Hartselle was outhit 8-4 but managed to get the right hits at the right times to seal the win.

Hartselle took control of the game first when Austin Parker blasted a solo shot in the second inning to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Hueytown answered in the third inning with four straight hits, two singles and two doubles, to score two runs and take the lead 2-1. Hartselle struggled to get anything going at the plate for much of the game and had to resort to strong defense to stay in the game. Right fielder Taylor Easterling played hero as he came up with two fantastic plays in the game. The first came when he scooped up a ground ball and threw out the runner at first base, and the second came when he made a diving catch and then proceeded to throw out the shocked runner trying to get back to first base.

Hartselle finally came to life in the sixth inning when they put two runners on base thanks to a single from Eric Stephenson and Connor Burks being hit by a pitch. The Tigers took the lead 3-2 when Brady Netherton drove in Stephenson with an RBI single and Parker drove in Burks with an RBI sacrifice fly. Hueytown looked to have a chance to tie the game after they got a leadoff single. However, Parker was able to throw him out at third and end the threat as Hartselle went on to win 3-2.

Brady Netherton picked up the win for the Tigers as he allowed eight hits and two runs with four strikeouts in seven innings pitched. Austin Parker led the team with a hit and two RBIs.

Early errors come back to haunt Tigers

The Hartselle Tigers learned the hard way in game two against Hueytown what failing to capitalize on chances can do when they fell to the Golden Gophers 2-1 in nine innings Saturday. Hartselle had several chances to take a multi run lead in the opening innings, but mistakes cost them the runs.

The first missed opportunity came in the first inning when Riley Wood was caught trying to steal home after the Hueytown catcher attempted to throw someone out at first base. The very next play saw Austin Parker hit an RBI double that scored Brady Netherton and gave Hartselle a 1-0 lead. Hartselle had another out at home plate when Parker was thrown out trying to score from second base after a Garrett Wade single.

The missed opportunities continued in the second inning for Hartselle as Grayson Bray was thrown out trying to steal third base. The next play saw Taylor Easterling hit a single. Hartselle failed to score any runs in the inning.

The game stayed 1-0 until the bottom of the sixth inning. Hueytown tied the game on a controversial play that saw the base runner run into the third base coach before scoring the tying run. Hartselle fans complained that the runner was out, but the run remained and the game was now tied 1-1. The game went into extra innings and Hartselle was forced to pit game one starter Brady Netherton back in the game to pitch. A tough double play by Blake Lowe ended the Gopher’s scoring threat in the eighth. However, Hueytown eventually won the game 2-1 with a walk off sacrifice fly in the ninth to force a game three.

Brady Netherton took the loss for Hartselle as he allowed two hits and one run in two innings pitched. Garrett Wade pitched most of the game. Wade allowed three hits and one run with 11 strikeouts in seven innings pitched. Taylor Easterling led the Tigers with two hits.

Game three is set to take place on Monday May 8th at 4:30 p.m.

 

 

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