Hartselle’s season ends in quarterfinals of state playoffs
The Hartselle Tigers saw their season come to an end at the hands of top-ranked Oxford in a quarterfinals series loss in the 6A state playoffs. The Yellow Jackets defeated the Tigers 4-1 and then 5-3 to sweep the series.
“Obviously, we hate to see the season has come to an end. This program has high standards, and we work hard to put ourselves in a position to compete for the state championship every year, and this year was no different,” Hartselle assistant coach Jake Miles said. “It’s hard to see it end, but we had a great season, and sometimes, when you have had the success most of these guys have had over the past few years, it’s hard to see it. I think Oxford had a really good team, and they made the plays when they needed to make them, so hats off to them, and best of luck to them moving forward.”
Game one: Oxford 4, Hartselle 1
The high-scoring Hartselle offense was frustrated all game by Oxford pitcher Hayes Harrison. The Tigers entered game one averaging over 11 runs a game during the playoffs but were held to only one run the game one.
Hartselle jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Peyton Steele brought home Eli Tidwell in the top of the first. After the first inning, Harrison held the Tigers to only two hits the rest of the way.
Sophomore Jace Meadows took the loss after allowing four runs in 1.1 innings of work. Oxford scored four runs in the top of the second inning with three solo home runs and an RBI single. Nic Chumley pitched 3.2 innings of scoreless relief, with Landon Blackwood throwing two innings of scoreless relief.
Tidwell, Coleman Mizell, Cam Palahach and Cade Miles each had a hit.
Game two: Oxford 5, Hartselle 3
Oxford scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth to get a come-from-behind victory over Hartselle to end the Tigers’ season.
Hartselle took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Tidwell hit a home run over the right field fence. Oxford tied the game at 1-1 with a home run in the bottom of the inning, the first hit off starter Jack Smith since the second game of the Cullman series.
Steele reached on an error and was then brought home when JoJo Williamson doubled in the top of the fourth inning. The Tigers added another run in the top of the sixth when Greyson Howard’s single scored Williamson for a 3-1 lead.
Oxford scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth on three hits, two errors, and a wild pitch by Hartselle. However, the Yellow Jackets held the Tigers off the scoreboard in the seventh to hang on for the 5-3 win.
Williamson had two hits, an RBI and a run scored to lead Hartselle. Palahach and Brody Leathers also had a hit.
Smith took the loss after pitching a complete game. He allowed five runs (two earned) on four hits. He struck out 14 batters to finish with 35 in three games.
The season ends with the Tigers finishing 30-10. They will say goodbye to seven seniors who helped continue the winning tradition of Hartselle Tigers baseball. Graduating this year will be Coleman Mizell (Alabama signee), Jack Smith (Arkansas signee), Eli Tidwell (Northwest-Shoals signee), Greyson Howard, Walker Hoyle, Nic Telepun and Isaac Nicholson.
“As far as our seniors go, we hate to see them leave. The Hartselle baseball program is a family, and we hope they had a great four-year experience that they can be proud of,” Miles said. “Most fans don’t get to see the quality of people our players are. They see the hits and strikeouts, but our program has really good kids who are much more than baseball players. Anytime you lose the opportunity to be around good people, it’s sad. However, we are simultaneously excited for the future of our seniors and all the chapter will hold for them. They all have the character and drive to help them succeed.”