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CLASS 6A STATE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES Helena Claims Class 6A State Crown With Two Clutch Wins at Riverwalk Stadium over Cullman

     MONTGOMERY – Helena High School built a four-run lead thanks to the clutch pitching of junior Landon Green in final game three of the AHSAA Class 6A State Baseball Championship Series at Riverwalk Stadium Friday, and then managed to hold at the end to win 5-4.
    Helena forced game three with a dramatic 3-2 win in game two Friday morning at Riverwalk Stadium thanks to another strong pitching performance by Troy Cordrey in game two. The Huskies (38-6), coached by P.J. Guy, fell behind 1-0 after one inning in the finale, but tied the game in the top of the fourth when Nick Ragsdale scored on a Cullman error.
      In the bottom of the inning, Green (11-0) turned the momentum in a big way by striking out the Bearcats’ No. 3, 4 and 5 hitters on nine pitched strikes. Helena then rallied for four runs in the top of the fifth to build a 5-1 lead. Riley Davis, Sam Praytor and Brooks Brophy each got hits and then the wheels fell off Cullman’s defense as two wild pitches and an infield error led to the four runs.
   Green, who pitched 6 2/3 innings allowing just two hits and striking out five, ran into trouble in the bottom of the seventh hitting three batters as Coach Brent Patterson’s Bearcats (38-9) scored a run and  loaded the bases. Reliever Brooks Brophy walked the first two batters he faced to make it a one-run game, but he got Carter Bowen to fly out to deep left for third out to end the game.
        Cordrey, who earned MVP honors, had one RBI in the third game. Davis and Green each had two hits.  Lovell had an RBI single and Grayson Taylor stroked a double to pace Cullman.
     In first game Friday at Riverwalk, Cullman took the lead 2-0 in the top of the fourth on Carter Bowen’s two-run single. Helena got a run back in the bottom of the inning and tied the game in the sixth. Left fielder Nick Ragsdale doubled to left to lead off the bottom of the seventh for the Huskies. Pinch runner Lawson Peoples got to third on a sacrifice by Brandon Moss and scored the winning run on pinch hitter Colton Hood’s fielder’s choice to end the game.
     Cordrey (11-2) hurled a three-hitter and struck out six to get the win for the Huskies. Will Morris (10-1) pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowed four hits and also struck out six for the Bearcats.
      Hoover and Auburn started the Class 7A Championship Series Friday night with a single game at Paterson Field at 6 p.m. The two teams will close out AHSAA State Baseball Championship Series Saturday at Riverwalk Stadium beginning at 10 a.m. All games are live-streamed by the NFHS Network.

CLASS 6A STATE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES Game 1: Cullman 9 Helena 1

     MONTGOMERY –  Cullman High School downed Helena 9-1 in a lightning-delayed first game of the AHSAA Class 6A State Baseball Championship Series Thursday night at Paterson Field to take a 1-0 advantage into game two of the best 2-of-3 series that resumes Friday at Riverwalk Stadium at 10 a.m.
    All games in the AHSAA State Baseball Championships are being live-streamed by the NFHS Network.
    Coach Brent Paterson’s Bearcats (38-7) scored five runs in the first two innings to build a 5-1 lead. The lead stretched to 6-1 before a lightning delay stopped the game for more than an hour.
    Cullman added two more runs once play resumed and coasted to the triumph – collecting 10 hits and taking advantage of eight Helena errors.
     Winning pitcher Jacob Heatherly (10-1)  pitched 6 1/3 innings allowing only two hits and one unearned run. Michael Myers got the final two outs for the Bearcats. Riley Davis (7-1) got the loss. There no strikeouts registered by either team .  Senior center fielder Owen Lovell slugged a double and plated two runs for Cullman. Caleb Lipsey had three hits and scored twice, Trent Price had two hits and an RBI and lead-off hitter Noah Fondren had a single and scored two runs.
Nash Adams had a double and Davis had a single for Coach P.J. Guy’s Huskies.
    Hoover and Auburn will start the Class 7A Championship Series Friday night with a single game at Paterson Field at 6 p.m. The two teams will close out State Baseball Championship Series Saturday at Riverwalk Stadium beginning at 10 a.m.


CLASS 5A STATE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES Russellville Wins Game 3 Over Faith Academy 7-4 To Claim Third Straight Class 5A Baseball Title

     MONTGOMERY –Russellville High School beat Faith Academy 7-4 in game three of the AHSAA 2017 Class 5A State Baseball Championship Series at Riverwalk Stadium to captured the Golden Tigers’ third straight state title. Both teams also met in the finals in 2016.
    Coach Chris Heaps’ Tigers (38-10) took 1-0 lead in the series Wednesday night with a 9-1 win over the Rams. However,  Faith Academy (30-8) forced game three with a dramatic 8-7 win in game two at Riverwalk Stadium Thursday morning.
     Russellville took control of the third and final game of the best 2-of-3 series plating four runs in the bottom of the first inning to take control.8-7 win in game two. The Tigers picked up another run in the fourth and led 7-0 with two more runs in the fourth. Coach Matt Seymour’s Rams (30-8) clawed back into the contest with two runs in the sixth and seventh innings, but it was too little too late.
     Starting pitcher Skylar Holland (6-3) pitched six strong innings to get the win for Russellville to get the game three win. He pitched in relief in game two and got the loss. Holland allowed five hits, two runs, walked one and struck out four before he reached his 120-pitch limit for the day.  Judd Ward and Rudy Fernandez hurled the seventh inning to close out the game. Fernandez got the final two outs to get the save.
    Class 5A Championship Series MVP Cody Greenhill, who pitched the 9-1 win in game one, had two hits and two RBIs to earn MVP honors. His clutch hit in the fourth  gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead.  Ward, Houston Kitterman and Tom Barkley Scott also had two hits. Colin Garrison also slugged a triple and scored two runs.
     Braxton Bell, who pitched five innings in relief, had a double and single and two RBIs for Faith Academy.  Chris Sargent and Brooks Carlson also had two hits.
    Leading 5-1 Game 2, the Rams gave up six runs in the fifth and sixth inning and trailed Russellville  7-5 heading into the top of the seventh. Faith plated three runs in the top of the inning and blanked the Tigers in the bottom of the seventh to seal an 8-7 win.
     Bell (2-2 pitched the final 1 2/3 innings to get the win. He allowed one hit, walked one and faced just six batters.   Skylar Holland (5-3) pitched the final inning for Russellville and got the loss. Starter Chad Wray went six innings for the Tigers allowing six hits, five runs and striking out nine. Faith starter Gabe Shepard pitched four innings, gave up six hits and five runs and whiffed seven.
       Carlson had a double, single and RBI to pace Faith. Catcher Christian Waltman also had a double. Holland had three hits and three RBIs to pace Russellville. Scott and Garrison also had two hits each. Scott also had two RBIs.
    The Class 6A Championship Series got underway Thursday night at Paterson Field with game one between Cullman and Helena set for 6 p.m. The 6A series will move to Riverwalk Stadium Friday morning at 10 a.m. Class 7A begins its championship series at Paterson Field Friday night at  6 p.m. Hoover and Auburn will then close out the 7A series Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. with game two of the best 2-of-3 series.
    All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.

CLASS 5A STATE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES Game 1: Russellville 9, Faith Academy 1

     MONTGOMERY – Defending Class 5A state champion Russellville slugged 11 hits in the AHSAA Class 5A State Baseball Championship Series game at Paterson Field to beat Faith Academy 9-1 Wednesday night.
     The Golden Tigers (37-9) take the 1-0 lead into game two Thursday at Riverwalk Stadium. Faith Academy and Russellville will play game two of the best 2-of-3 series at 10 a.m., with game three set to start 30 minutes later if needed. The series is a rematch from last year’s Class 5A finals.
     Senior first baseman Skylar Holland had three hits and an RBI, junior shortstop Landon Ezzell had a double, single and two RBIs and senior Cody Greenhill  had a double and two RBIs for Coach Chris Heaps’ Tigers. Colin Garrison also scored two runs, had two RBIs and one hit as the lead-off hitter for Russellville.
      Greenhill (12-2) did the rest, pitching a complete-game two-hitter and striking out 11 to get the win.
      Faith Academy (29-7), coached by Matt Seymour,  got its only run in the sixth inning when  Jackson Bell scored on Brooks Carlson’s sacrifice fly. Bell and Christian Waltman had one hit each for the Rams. Starting pitcher Reece Ewing (5-4) hurled 5 1/3 innings, allowed nine hits eight runs and struck out two to get the loss.
    The Class 6A Championship Series gets underway Thursday night at Paterson Field with game one between Cullman and Helena set for 6 p.m. The 6A series will move to Riverwalk Stadium Friday morning at 10 a.m. Class 7A begins its championship series at Paterson Field Friday night at  6 p.m. Hoover and Auburn will then close out the 7A series Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. with game two of the best 2-of-3 series.
    All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.


AHSAA Class 2A State Baseball Championships G.W. Long Sweeps Class 2A Championships Behind Pitcher Collin Searcy’s No-hitter

     MONTGOMERY – Defending Class 5A state champion Russellville slugged 11 hits in the AHSAA Class 5A State Baseball Championship Series game at Paterson Field to beat Faith Academy 9-1 Wednesday night.
     The Golden Tigers (37-9) take the 1-0 lead into game two Thursday at Riverwalk Stadium. Faith Academy and Russellville will play game two of the best 2-of-3 series at 10 a.m., with game three set to start 30 minutes later if needed. The series is a rematch from last year’s Class 5A finals.
     Senior first baseman Skylar Holland had three hits and an RBI, junior shortstop Landon Ezzell had a double, single and two RBIs and senior Cody Greenhill  had a double and two RBIs for Coach Chris Heaps’ Tigers. Colin Garrison also scored two runs, had two RBIs and one hit as the lead-off hitter for Russellville.
      Greenhill (12-2) did the rest, pitching a complete-game two-hitter and striking out 11 to get the win.
      Faith Academy (29-7), coached by Matt Seymour,  got its only run in the sixth inning when  Jackson Bell scored on Brooks Carlson’s sacrifice fly. Bell and Christian Waltman had one hit each for the Rams. Starting pitcher Reece Ewing (5-4) hurled 5 1/3 innings, allowed nine hits eight runs and struck out two to get the loss.
    The Class 6A Championship Series gets underway Thursday night at Paterson Field with game one between Cullman and Helena set for 6 p.m. The 6A series will move to Riverwalk Stadium Friday morning at 10 a.m. Class 7A begins its championship series at Paterson Field Friday night at  6 p.m. Hoover and Auburn will then close out the 7A series Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. with game two of the best 2-of-3 series.
    All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.


CLASS 4A STATE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES UMS-Wright Posts 5-1 Win in Game 3 To Clinch the 2017 Class 4A State Baseball Title

     MONTGOMERY – UMS-Wright High School’s Sam Plash was 4-for-4 with a double, three singles and two RBIs Wednesday night to lead the Bulldogs to a game three 5-1 victory over Madison Academy to clinch the AHSAA Class 4A state championship for the Bulldogs at Riverwalk Stadium. The state title was the second in a row for the Mobile school and their 10th overall.
      Plash, the Class 4A Series MVP,  and team collected 10 hits in the final game – quite a contrast to the six hits in game two when Madison Academy posted a 9-1 win to force game three. Winning pitcher Brant Dixon (6-3) scattered five hits, walked one and struck out two in a strong performance to get  the win.
      Jake Christa’s second-inning home run that hit the screen on the foul pole down the left-field line closed gave Coach David Pressley’s Mustangs some momentum as they closed a 4-run UMS lead to 4-1. Dixon, however, kept the MA batters off-stride with his breaking pitches and the Bulldogs defense did the rest to seal the championship.
       Senior Tanner Allen added a triple and single, Dalton Goff had two hits and an RBI and Skipper Snypes doubled in a run for Coach Kevin Raley’s Bulldogs (28-13).
       Madison Academy starter Sam King (7-3) gave up five hits and four runs in the first two innings to get the loss. Nate Buchanan hurled five strong innings of relief for the Mustangs (30-17) striking out three and just allowing four hits and one run. Madison Academy moved to Class 4A this season after winning the last three state titles in Class 3A.
       UMS-Wright took a 1-0 lead in the series Tuesday night with a 5-1 at Paterson Field. Madison Academy forced game three winning the first game at Riverwalk Stadium Wednesday 9-1.
      Winning pitcher Dylan Murphy (7-2) pitched five innings, allowed six hits and struck out five for the Mustangs. Cade Morson pitched the last two innings allowing no hits, no runs, walking four and striking out two.   UMS-Wright starter Dalton Goff (5-5) pitched 5 1/3 innings allowing 11 hits and all nine runs. He struck out one, walked two and hit three batters.
     Senior center fielder James Nix was 3-for-3 with a double, two-run homer and four RBIs. His blast in the fifth inning turned a 4-1 game into a 7-1 contest and the Bulldogs never recovered.
     Catcher Christian Cooper had a single and RBI to lead UMS-Wright.
    Russellville and Faith Academy will complete the Class 5A Championship Series Thursday morning starting at with game two at 10 a.m. Game three will follow if needed 30 minutes after completion of game two.
    The Class 6A Championship Series gets underway Thursday night at Paterson Field with game one between Cullman and Helena set for 6 p.m. The 6A series will move to Riverwalk Stadium Friday morning at 10 a.m. Class 7A begins its championship series at Paterson Field Friday night at  6 p.m. Hoover and Auburn will then close out the 7A series Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. with game two of the best 2-of-3 series.
    All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.



CLASS 4A STATE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES Game 1: UMS-Wright 5, Madison Academy 1

     MONTGOMERY – Conner Jednat tossed a 2-hitter over 6 1/3 innings to lead UMS-Wright to a 5-1 win over Madison Academy in game one of the Class 4A State Baseball Championship Series at Paterson Field Tuesday night.
    The series moves to Riverwalk Stadium Wednesday at 4 p.m., for game two – with game three, if needed, to follow 30 minutes later in the best 2-of-3 series.
    UMS-Wright (27-12), the defending Class 4A state champs, out-hit Madison Academy 10-3. The Mustangs, in Class 4A for the first time, won Class 3A the last three years.
   Jednat walked six and struck out seven. He was pulled in the seventh when he reached the maximum 120 pitches allowed. Tanner Allen got the last two out on a double-play to end the game. 
    Evan Hannah’s solo homer to left in the second inning gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead. The lead extended to 5-0 with a single run in the third and fourth and two runs in the fifth.  Skipper Snypes and Allen had two hits each for Coach Kevin Raley’s team. Snypes scored two runs. He and Allen each had a double.
    Madison Academy (29-16) was led by Cade Morrison’s two hits. Losing pitcher Jake Christa (7-3) allowed all 10 hits over 4 2/3 innings. Reliever Evan Liddie gave up no hits over the final 2 1/3 innings.
    Russellville and Faith Academy will start the Class 5A Championship Series Wednesday night with a single game at Paterson Field. The two teams will close out their series Thursday at Riverwalk.

CLASS 3A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES Gordo Sweeps Piedmont with 9-2 Win

    MONTGOMERY – Gordo High School pitchers shut out Piedmont for 11 2/3 innings in the AHSAA Class 3A State Baseball Championship series, but needed a big rally to seal the Greenwave’s 9-2 win in Game 2 and sweep the series and state title at Riverwalk Stadium.
    Series MVP Thomas Langdon hurled a 1-hit shutout in Game 1 Monday night, and junior Nick Ponders shut out the Bulldogs (27-14) for 4 2/3 innings in game two before Coach Matt Deerman’s squad finally rallied for two runs to tie the contest at 2-2. Coach Jonathan Pate’s Greenwave (34-7) wasted little time responding. Gordo posted five runs in the bottom of the fifth – the big hit a bases-loaded triple by junior left fielder Davis Vails that played three of his team’s five runs in that frame. Two more runs in the sixth sealed the victory and the state title – the first baseball crown in school history.
    Pounders (6-0) finished with a six-hitter, allowed just one earned run, walked none and struck out three. Right fielder Collin Herring, another junior, was 4-for-4 with three runs scored and three RBIs. Pounders was also 3-for-3 with two RBIs, senior shortstop and lead-off hitter Koy Chapman had three hits and scored twice. He had the game’s only double. Langdon also had a single and RBI. Center fielder Cabel Mullenix hauled in eight putouts in the contest including two sliding catches that robbed Piedmont of possible hits.
     Bailey Graves had two hits for Piedmont, coached by Mark Deerman. Michael Rogers added the big hit in the fifth for the Bulldogs, an RBI triple. Logan Pruitt, Taylor Morrow and senior hurler Taylor Hayes had the other hits. Hayes (10-5), the two-time Class 3A state football championship game MVP, pitched 5 1/3 innings. He allowed 13 hits had five strikeouts – finishing his senior year with 132 whiffs in 87 innings pitched.
    The 2017 Class 2A and Class 4A State Baseball Championship Series, which opened at Paterson Field Tuesday night, will play at Riverwalk Stadium Wednesday. The second game of the 2A series will be at 10 a.m., with the third game to follow 30 minutes later if needed. The Class 4A series resumes with game two at 4 p.m. The third game, if needed, will start 30 minutes after the conclusion of the 4 o’clock contest.
     All games will be live-streamed over the NFHS Network. Check it out at www.nfhsnetwork.com.

CLASS 1A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES Sweet Water Wins Title with 8-7 Win in Game 3

    MONTGOMERY – Sweet Water High School junior Jonah Smith’s two-run single in the bottom of the eighth inning Tuesday lifted the Bulldogs (32-8) to a come-from-behind 8-7 win over defending state champion Decatur Heritage in game three to claim the 2017 AHSAA Class 1A state baseball championship at Riverwalk Stadium.
    Smith, named MVP of the series, pitched the game one victory Monday. He had a double and single in the final game and four in the series, none bigger than his one-out single to deliver the victory.
     Decatur Heritage (23-13) forced game three with a 2-1 win in the 10 a.m., game Tuesday. Grayson Wakefield (7-1) tossed a two-hitter with six strikeouts to keep the Eagles’ repeat hopes alive. Jackson Parker had two hits in the win for Coach Steve Meek’s team. Smith had a single and scored Sweet Water’s only run. Sasha Smith (4-3) hurled five strong innings, allowing three hits but got the loss.
    Coach John Gluschick’s Bulldogs took control of the third game early to build a 6-1 lead heading into the the top of the sixth. Things begin to unravel for starter Braiden Broussard, however, as the Eagles clawed back to tie the game with five runs. Garrett Buckner’s double plated two runs for the big hit of the inning.
    The game stayed tied until the top of the eighth when the Eagles played one run – and had an insurance run nullified when the runner on third was called out for leaving the base too soon on a fly out to left for the third out.
    Sweet Water loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the inning. Jonah Smith then drilled a single to left that plated pinch runner Trenton Sams and Shamar Lewis to end the game.
    Designated hitter Hunter Mendenhall was 3-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI to pace the Bulldogs’ 12-hit attack in the final game. Chance Broussard also had three hits, including one to start the eighth-inning rally. Catcher Luke Davis also had an RBI double.
    Chase Joiner (3-0) got the final two out of the eighth inning to get the win for Sweet Water. Jeff Hunter (4-2) got the loss in relief. Dalton Davis also pitched 4 1/3 innings in relief allowing three hits, one run and striking out four for Decatur Heritage.

CLASS 3A CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES – Game 1 Gordo 9, Piedmont 0

    MONTGOMERY – Gordo High School senior right-hander Thomas Langdon fired a  1-hitter blanking  Piedmont 9-0 in game one of the 2017 AHSAA Class 3A State Baseball Championship Series at Riverwalk Stadium Monday night.
    Game two of the best two-of-three series continues at Riverwalk Stadium, home of the Southern League’s Montgomery Biscuits, Tuesday at 4 p.m., with game three to follow 30 minutes after completion if needed Tuesday night.
    Langdon (10-1) was masterful with his control, walking one and striking out four to notch his 10th win of the season. He got good offensive support from his teammates, especially lead-off hitter Koy Chapman and third hitter Collin Herring. Each had three hits. Chapman slugged a double and two singles and scored one run while Herring clubbed three singles, drove in three runs and scored twice.
    Nick Pounders also had a double and two RBIs and Cabel Mullenix had a single and RBI. Coach Jonathan Pate’s Green Wave (33-7), scheduled to be the home team in game two, pounded nine hits and plated four runs in the third and sixth innings to break the game open.
     Logan Pruitt (7-3), who came in 3-0 in the playoffs, pitched 5 1/3 innings allowing five hits and six runs. Four were earned. He also had two walks and struck out four. Easton Kirk got the only hit for the Bulldogs (27-13).
    The Class 2A Championship Series between Fayetteville and G.W. Long will play game one Tuesday at Paterson Field at 4 p.m., and the Class 4A Championship Series pairing Madison Academy and UMS-Wright, plays its first game at 7 Tuesday night, also at Paterson Field. Those series will conclude Wednesday at Riverwalk Stadium.
   All baseball games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network with Graham Dunn behind the mike. The week’s complete schedule can be found at www.ahsaa.com.