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Class 5A State Championship Series Russellville beat Faith Academy Twice to Claim Title

    MONTGOMERY –  Senior left-hander Austin Bohannon (14-1) hurled a one-hitter in game 2 and senior right-hander Austin Kitterman (10-1) pitched a complete game in the game 3 as defending state champion Russellville beat Faith Academy 3-0 and 5-3 Friday to capture the Class 5A State Baseball Championship at Riverwalk Stadium.
    Faith Academy (36-6) won game one on Thursday night at Paterson field 9-1.
    Bohannon had a no-hitter until Brooks Carson tripled with two outs in the top of the sixth inning.  Bohannon finished with three walks and three strikeouts as he faced just 25 batters and threw only 94 pitches to get the shutout win.
    That set the stage for Kitterman, who suffered a life-threatening injury in a four-wheeler accident in 2014, pitched a gritty game in the finals allowing nine hits, striking out six and walking none. His head coach Chris Heaps said just having Kitterman’s presence on the team was “a miracle.”
     Kitterman threw 92 pitches to notch the 5-3 championship game win. 
     Landon Oliver had two hits and two RBIs – driving in two runs in the bottom of the first in game three to help Russellville (48-7) take a 3-0 lead. 
      Christopher Sargent’s two-run double in the top of the second cut the lead to 3-2 for Faith Academy (36-7), coached by Matt Seymour.  Will Freeman, who pitched game one win for the Rams, had a double and game-tyng RBI in the third.
     The Golden Tigers took the lead when Judd Ward, who had two hits, tripled and scored on a wild pitch in the fifth. The team added an insurance run on Colin Garrison’s single in the sixth.      Faith Academy pitcher Gabe Shepard (8-2) pitched all six innings for the Rams. He allowed eight hits, walked two and struck out five.
GAME 2:  Russellville 3, Faith Academy 0
     Bohannon’s pitching performance in game two kept the Golden Tigers’ championship hopes alive. He earned Class 5A State Championship Series MVP for his effort.
    Rams starter Reece Ewing (7-2) also had a no-hitter until the Golden Tigers bunched three hits together in the bottom of the fifth to plate two runs.  The big hit was a bases-loaded single by shortstop Reed Smith to plate pinch runner Tom Barkley and Landon Ezzell. Smith walked and scored in the first inning on a wild pitch to put Russellville up 1-0 early.
     Ewing went 4 1/3 innings allowing three hits, three runs and striking out three. Michael Morris hurled the final 1 1/3 innings for the Rams of Coach Mike Seymour.
     Russellville left just two runners on base. Smith also turned in two big plays defensively in game two and another in game 3.

Class 4A State Championship Series Class 4A: Game 2 UMS-Wright 4, Oneonta 1 (UMS-Wright wins state title)

     MONTGOMERY –  Senior right fielder Chauncey Callier slammed a two-run homer in the bottom of the third inning Friday to give UMS-Wright a 3-0 cushion and the Bulldogs closed out the AHSAA Class 4A State Baseball Championship Series with a 4-1 win over Oneonta to claim the state title at Riverwalk Stadium.
     Coach Kevin Raley’s Bulldogs (33-9) won 9-3 on Thursday afternoon at Paterson Field and swept the series as Callier, named the Class 4A Series MVP, drove in the three runs and also robbed one Redskins hitter of a sure double with a diving catch that helped defuse one Oneonta rally.  He also had one hit and drove in another run in the first game to finish with four RBIs.
     Winning pitcher Garrett Hollinghead (7-4) needed just 81 pitches to hurl a complete-game four hitter in Friday’s final game. He walked none and struck out three.
     Peyton Martin also drove in Sam Plash for UMS-Wright’s other run.  Tanner Allen had a single and double and scored two runs. He also went 2-for-3 on Thursday to score two more runs as the Bulldogs’ leadoff hitter to finish 4-of-6 with four runs scored for the series.
     Oneonta (30-12), coached by Brandon Moore, got a solid pitching performance from Dawson Harvey (8-2). Harvey allowed just six hits over six innings, walked none and struck out two while throwing just 82 pitches.
     Brody Moore had two hits for the Redskins, Harvey had a single and scored his team’s only run in the top of the fourth inning, and Zach Dimmock had one hit and drove in his teammate with a sacrifice fly.
     The championship was the ninth overall for UMS-Wright and the first during Raley’s coaching tenure.
      Russellville (46-7) and Faith Academy (36-5) square off in game 2 of the Class 5A Championship Series at 4 p.m. at Riverwalk.
     The Class 7A Championship Series featuring Hewitt-Trussville (34-11) and Auburn (32-11) is set for game one at 4 p.m. Friday at Paterson Field. The first game of the Class 6A Championship Series between Cullman (40-11) and Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (37-10) will be at 7. The two series will move to Riverwalk Stadium Saturday with 7A at 10 a.m. and 6A at 4 p.m.
    All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.

Class 5A State Championship Series Class 5A: Game 1 Faith Academy 9, Russellville 1

     MONTGOMERY –  Senior pitcher William Freeman (12-1) fired a two-hitter Thursday night as Faith Academy of Mobile beat defending state champion Russellville 9-1 in the first game of the AHSAA Class 5A State Baseball Championship Series at Paterson Field.
     The two teams move to Riverwalk Stadium for game two Friday at 4 p.m. Game three, if needed in the best-of-three series, will following 30 minutes later at approximately 7 p.m.
      Freeman threw just 80 pitches with 10 strikeouts and one walk while facing just 24 batters. Russellville starting pitcher Cody Greenhill (13-3) socked a solo home run in the top of the third inning to cut the Rams’ lead to 5-1.  Coach Matt Seymour’s team jumped out early with three runs in the first, two in the second and another in the third to take control. Freeman’s pitching did the rest.
     Catcher Christian Waltman had two doubles and drove in four runs for Faith Academy (36-5).  Brooks Carlson, Jackson Bell and Ryan Bell added two hits each for the Rams from Mobile.
     Russellville (46-7), coached by Chris Heaps, left just two runners on base. Reed Smith had the only other hit for the Golden Tigers.
    UMS-Wright and Oneonta play game 2 of the Class 4A Championship Series at Riverwalk Stadium Friday morning at 10 a.m.  
     The Class 7A Championship Series featuring Hewitt-Trussville (34-11) and Auburn (32-11) is set for game one at 4 p.m. Friday at Paterson Field. The first game of the Class 6A Championship Series between Cullman (40-11) and Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (37-10) will be at 7. The two series will move to Riverwalk Stadium Saturday with 7A at 10 a.m. and 6A at 4 p.m.
    All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.

Class 3A State Championship Series Madison Academy Beats American Christian Twice to Claim Third Title in a Row

     MONTGOMERY –  Madison Academy (35-16) pounded 12 hits and beat American Christian 10-4 in game two of the best-of-three AHSAA Class 3A State Baseball Championship Series at Montgomery’s Riverwalk Stadium Thursday afternoon and followed with a 6-2 win in the nightcap to capture the Mustangs’ third straight state baseball championship.
      Junior Dylan Murphy (5-3) shut out The Patriots (32-7) on two hits over six innings and struck out four to get the deciding game win.   He earned MVP honors for the 3A Championship Series collecting one hit in each game Thursday and two in Wednesday’s 3-1 setback. He also got the final two outs in game one on the mound – preventing him from going the full seven Thursday night.
      Cody Littlejohn, who got the last two outs in the seventh notch the save, slugged three hits in game three with two triples including a lead-off three-bagger in the sixth inning that started a five-run rally.  He also socked a triple in game 2.
      Coach Mike Good’s Mustangs led 1-0 heading into the top of the sixth as Murphy and Patriots starter John Chaney Hajek hooked up in quite a pitchers’ duel. Hajek (4-2) scattered six hits, three runs and struck out four to get the loss.
      Carson Crowe had two hits, Britt Sparks slammed a seventh-inning double and Cole Fendley drove in a run as Coach Erik Smallwood’s Patriots rallied late to score two runs.
     For Good, the final game was his last as Madison Academy’s head coach and clinched the fourth state title for the Mustangs during his tenure. MA also won state titles in 2009, 2014 and 2015.
Madison Academy 10, American Christian 4
     Madison Academy forced a third game in the championship series winning 10-4 in game played at Riverwalk Stadium Thursday afternoon.
    Center fielder Jack Fulkerson had a single and double and drove in three runs for the Mustangs. Trey Owens also had two hits and two RBIs while teammates Will Acuff and Cody Littlejohn slugged triples.
     Sam King (10-3) started and pitched five innings to get the win. He allowed six hits and struck out three. Cade Morson hurled the final two innings.
     American Christian was led by lead-off hitter Grant Atkins’ three hits and two runs scored. He was 7-of-8 with five runs scored in the first two games. Deacon Medders also had three hits, including a triple, and drove in a run. Carson Crowe also slugged a solo home run. 
     UMS-Wright won over Oneonta 9-3 in the first game of the 4A Championship Series played at Paterson Field Thursday afternoon and defending 5A state champ Russellville (46-7) fell to Faith Academy (36-5)  9-1 in game one of the Class 5A State Championship series.
     UMS-Wright and Oneonta play game two of the 4A series at Riverwalk Stadium Friday at 10 a.m., with game three, if needed, starting 30 minutes later at approximately 1 p.m.   Russellville and Faith Academy play game 2 of the Class 5A series at Riverwalk Stadium at 4 p.m. Game three, if needed will follow at 7 p.m.
    The Class 7A Championship Series featuring Hewitt-Trussville (34-11) and Auburn (32-11) is set for game one at 4 p.m. Friday at Paterson Field. The first game of the Class 6A Championship Series between Cullman (40-11) and Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (37-10) will be at 7. The two series will move to Riverwalk Stadium Saturday with 7A at 10 a.m. and 6A at 4 p.m.
    All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.

Class 4A: Game 1 UMS-Wright 9, Oneonta 3

     MONTGOMERY –  Junior Conner Jednat (12-1) hurled a complete-game six-hitter to lift UMS-Wright past Oneonta 9-3 in the first game of the AHSAA Class 4A State Baseball Championship Series at Montgomery’s Paterson Field Thursday afternoon. The two teams will play Friday morning at 10 a.m., at Riverwalk Stadium in the second game of the series. A third game, if needed, will follow at approximately 1 p.m.
      Jednat did not allow an earned run and struck out four. Oneonta starting pitcher Trevor Smith (5-6) allowed seven hits and eight runs over five innings and struck for four to get the loss. 
      Tanner Allen had a double and single, scored two runs and had an RBI for the winning Bulldogs (32-9) of Coach Kevin Raley. Sam Plash also had two hits, Christian Cooper had two hits and Dalton Goff had two RBIs.
     Smith had one hit and an RBI for Oneonta (30-11), coached by Brandon Moore. Ko Powell and Kevin Crim each added a double.
      Defending 5A state champ Russellville (46-6) and Faith Academy (35-5) were playing in the 5A Series opener at 7.
    All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.


Class 3A: Game 2 Madison Academy 10, American Christian 4

     MONTGOMERY –  Madison Academy pounded 12 hits and beat American Christian 10-4 in game two of the best-of-three AHSAA Class 3A State Baseball Championship Series at Montgomery’s Riverwalk Stadium Thursday afternoon. The deciding third game of the 3A Championship Series got underway at 6:30 p.m., at Riverwalk Thursday night.
    Center fielder Jack Fulkerson had a single and double and drove in three runs for the Mustangs (34-16).  Trey Owens also had two hits and two RBIs while teammates Will Acuff and Cody Littlejohn slugged triples for Coach Mike Good’s two-time defending champs.
     Sam King (10-3) started and pitched five innings to get the win. He allowed six hits and struck out three. Cade Morson hurled the final two innings.
     American Christian, coached by Erik Smallwood, was led by lead-off hitter Grant Atkins’ three hits and two runs scored. He was 7-of-8 with five runs scored in the first two games. Deacon Medders also had three hits, including a triple, and drove in a run. Carson Crowe also slugged a solo home run. 
     UMS-Wright won over Oneonta 9-3 in the first game of the 4A Championship Series played at Paterson Field Thursday afternoon. Defending 5A state champ Russellville (46-6) and Faith Academy (35-5) were playing in the 5A Series opener at 7.
    All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.

Class 1A State Baseball Championship Series Decatur Heritage 9-3, J.U. Blacksher 8-2

     MONTGOMERY – Decatur Heritage clawed back from an 8-0 deficit in game 2 of the AHSAA Class 1A State Baseball Championship Series at Riverwalk Stadium Thursday to beat J.U. Blacksher 9-8 and then captured the school’s first state title winning game 3 of the series 3-2 in the best-of-three finals.
     Grayson Wakefield (11-3), who started game two for Coach Steve Meek’s Eagles (28-13) and didn’t get out of the first inning, regrouped in game three pitching six strong innings to get the championship game win.  He scattered four hits and struck out six while throwing just 72 pitches in his final appearance. 
     Class 1A State Championship Series MVP Parker Sparkman, who had an outstanding series defensively at third base and went 5-for-8 with three RBIs over the three games, relieved in the seventh but gave way to reliever Jeff Hunter after yielding a run and loading the bases with no outs. Hunter faced the minimum three batters to pitch out of the jam closing out the game to get the save.
     Sparkman had one hit and an RBI in game three.   Hunter, who manned shortstop when not pitching, had a double and single and scored two runs. Dakota Hunter also had a single and RBI for the Eagles.
     Tanner Weaver (3-2) pitched a complete game going six innings in the finale for J.U. Blacksher (26-13). He allowed six hits and struck out three. Lead-off hitter Cooper Dean, who was 5-for-9 in the series, and DH Seth Metheny each had a single and RBI for the Bulldogs.

GAME TWO: Decatur Heritage 9, J.U. Blacksher 8
     Coach Justin Mixon’s Bulldogs (26-12) posted eight runs in the top of the first inning but ran into trouble in the bottom of the third when the Eagles (27-13) loaded the bases with no outs. Before the inning was over, Coach Steve Meek’s team had posted seven runs.  Decatur Heritage took the lead with two runs in the fifth to force the final game.
      Wyatt Farrior had a double and single and two RBIs for the Eagles. Third baseman Parker Sparkman also hit a triple and single and made two outstanding defensive plays for Decatur Heritage. Starting pitcher Grayson Wakefield also had a double and two RBIs, and catcher Trace Lentz had a two-RBI single.
     J.U. Blacksher was led by Hunter Tuberville’s triple, single and three RBIs, Cooper Dean’s two hits and two RBIs, and Tanner Brooks’ single and two RBIs.
     Decatur Heritage’s Clay Shaw (7-5) hurled 6 2/3 innings in relief allowing no runs, four hits and striking out four to get the win. Dillan Baldwin (3-1) pitched the final 3 2/3 innings and got the loss. He allowed one earned run, three hits and struck out two.
     Madison Academy (33-15) and American Christian (31-5), which played the first game of the 3A Championship Series Wednesday night at Paterson Field, will play game 2 of that series at 4 p.m. Thursday at Riverwalk Stadium.

     The Class 4A and 5A series are set to play game 1 of each series at Paterson Field Thursday night. Class 4A Oneonta (30-10) meets UMS-Wright (31-9) at 4 p.m., followed by defending 5A state champ Russellville (46-6) and Faith Academy (35-5) at 7.
    All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.

Class 1A: Game 2 Decatur Heritage 9, J.U. Blacksher 8

     MONTGOMERY – Decatur Heritage clawed back from an 8-0 deficit in game 2 of the AHSAA Class 1A State Baseball Championship Series at Riverwalk Stadium Thursday morning to beat J.U. Blacksher 9-8 and forced a third and final game in the best-of-three finals.
      Game 3 got under way at 12:15 p.m. Thursday at Riverwalk.
      Coach Justin Mixon’s Bulldogs (26-12) posted eight runs in the top of the first inning but ran into trouble in the bottom of the third when the Eagles (27-13) loaded the bases with no outs. Before the inning was over, Coach Steve Meek’s team had posted seven runs.  Decatur Heritage took the lead with two runs in the fifth to force the final game.
      Wyatt Farrior had a double and single and two RBIs for the Eagles. Third baseman Parker Sparkman also hit a triple and single and made two outstanding defensive plays for Decatur Heritage. Starting pitcher Grayson Wakefield also had a double and two RBIs, and catcher Trace Lentz had a two-RBI single.
     J.U. Blacksher was led by Hunter Tuberville’s triple, single and three RBIs, Cooper Dean’s two hits and two RBIs, and Tanner Brooks’ single and two RBIs.
     Decatur Heritage’s Clay Shaw (7-5) hurled 6 2/3 innings in relief allowing no runs, four hits and striking out four to get the win. Dillan Baldwin (3-1) pitched the final 3 2/3 innings and got the loss. He allowed one earned run, three hits and struck out two.
     Madison Academy (33-15) and American Christian (31-5), which played the first game of the 3A Championship Series Wednesday night at Paterson Field, will play game 2 of that series at 4 p.m. Thursday at Riverwalk Stadium.

     The Class 4A and 5A series are set to play game 1 of each series at Paterson Field Thursday night. Class 4A Oneonta (30-10) meets UMS-Wright (31-9) at 4 p.m., followed by defending 5A state champ Russellville (46-6) and Faith Academy (35-5) at 7.
    All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.

Class 3A: Game 1 American Christian 3, Madison Academy 1

     MONTGOMERY –  Senior Deacon Medders picked up his 12th win of the season Wednesday night scattering six hits and striking out nine as American Christian beat two-time defending state champion Madison Academy 3-1 in game one of the best-of-three AHSAA Class 3A State Baseball Championship Series at Montgomery’s Paterson Field Wednesday night.
    The two teams meet again Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. at Riverwalk Stadium in game two of the best-of-three series with game three scheduled for approximately 7 p.m., if needed.
     Medders (12-1) also provided some offensive punch for Coach Eric Smallwood’s Patriots (32-5), who remained unbeaten at 9-0 in the 2016 state playoffs. Lead-off hitter Grant Atkins, who finished 4-for-4 and scored all three of his team’s runs, doubled to start the game and scored on Medders’ double off the left-field wall to give American Christian a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.  Medders plated Atkins again in the top of the seventh with a sacrifice fly to notch a much-needed insurance run.
      Atkins, who had two stolen bases to up his season total to 26 in 26 tries, swiped third in the top of the third inning and scored American Christian’s other run on Caleb Squires’ single. Squires finished with single and double. Atkins also had an outstanding catch from his center field position to rob Luke Mordecai of a sure extra-base hit in the second inning.
      Dylan Murphy had two hits for Madison Academy 33-16) and Trey Owens had a single and RBI.  Starting pitcher Jake Christa (8-2) pitched six solid innings allowing seven hits, one earned run and striking out seven for Coach Mike Good’s Mustangs.
     J.U. Blacksher (26-11) takes a 1-0 edge into Thursday’s 10 a.m. second game of the Class 1A State Championship Series versus Decatur Heritage (26-13) at Riverwalk Stadium. 
     The Class 4A and 5A series are set to play game 1 of each series at Paterson Field Thursday night. Class 4A Oneonta (30-10) meets UMS-Wright (31-9) at 4 p.m., followed by defending 5A state champ Russellville (46-6) and Faith Academy (35-5) at 7.
    All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.

Class 1A: Game 1 J.U. Blacksher 6, Decatur Heritage 3

     MONTGOMERY –  J.U. Blacksher bunched six of its 11 hits together in the bottom of the fifth inning overcome a 3-1 deficit and posted a 6-3 victory over Decatur Heritage in the first game of the best-of-three AHSAA Class 1A State Baseball Championship Series at Montgomery’s Paterson Field Wednesday afternoon.
    The two teams meet again Thursday morning at 10 a.m. at Riverwalk Stadium in game two of the best-of-three series with game three scheduled for approximately 1 p.m., if needed.
     Madison Academy (33-15) and American Christian (31-5), which played the first game of the 3A Championship Series Wednesday night at Paterson Field, will play game 2 of that series at 4 p.m. Thursday at Riverwalk Stadium.

     The Class 4A and 5A series are set to play game 1 of each series at Paterson Field Thursday night. Class 4A Oneonta (30-10) meets UMS-Wright (31-9) at 4 p.m., followed by defending 5A state champ Russellville (46-6) and Faith Academy (35-5) at 7.
    All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.
    Trailing by two going into the bottom of the fifth, Coach Justin Mixon’s Bulldogs (26-11) rallied to score four runs and take a 5-3 lead thanks to hits by Tanner Brooks, Charlie Scruggs, Sage Baggett, Dillan Baldwin, Hunter Tuberville and  Tanner Weaver.
      Brooks, who went 3-for-3 with three runs scored, also doubled to start the sixth inning and scored an insurance run on a single by Cooper Dean to close the scoring.
      Starting pitcher Sage Baggett (8-2) struck out the first two batters he faced and hurled six solid innings to get the win for J.U. Blacksher. He allowed five hits and struck out four.  Dean relieved Baggett in the top of the seventh inning and needed just eight pitches to seal the win. He got the Eagles to ground into a double-play and then got the last out of a pop fly in foul territory behind third base for the save. Dean finished with two hits and an RBI and Scruggs drove in two runs for Blacksher.
     Wyatt Farrior (8-6) got the loss for Decatur Heritage (26-13).  Parker Sparkman had two hits and an RBI to lead the Eagles.