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Class 6A State Baseball Championship Series: Game 2 Pelham Rallies in 7th to Force Game 3

   MONTGOMERY – Pelham rallied from a 2-1 deficit in the bottom of the seventh inning Saturday morning at Riverwalk Stadium to nip Cullman 3-2 in game two of the AHSAA Class 6A state baseball championship series to force game 3.
     The third game got underway at 1:40 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
      Cullman led 2-0 after 2 ½ innings on RBIs by Owen Lovell and Orvis Cuello. Pelham’s Hunter Stovall put the Panthers of Coach Sean Anderson on the board with a towering solo home run in the bottom of the third off starting Bearcats pitcher Jacob Heatherly.
     That’s how it stayed until the seventh when Casey Aldah got n base with a single and scored on Justin Anderson’s sacrifice fly.   Tyler White scored the winning run when reliever Carter Bowen’s third-strike pitch to Logan Brashier got by the catcher allowing White to score the winning run.
       Cullman (44-10), coached by Brent Patterson, managed five hits off winning Panthers hurler Connor Radcliff (11-1). Kolby Robinson had two hits.   Radcliff struck out three.   Heatherly (4-2) went 6 1/3 innings, allowed four hits and struck out five to get the loss.

Class 6A State Baseball Championship Series: Game Cullman Nips Pelham 5-4 to Win Series Opener

   MONTGOMERY – Cullman (44-9) downed Pelham 5-4 Friday night at Paterson Field in game one of the AHSAA state baseball championship series. The best-of-three series concludes Saturday at Riverwalk Stadium as the Bearcats and Panthers play game two at 10 a.m. Game three, if needed, will follow approximately at 1 p.m.
      Cullman senior starter Jesse Scott (14-1) tossed a five-hitter to get the complete-game win. He had two-hitter and 5-1 lead heading into the seventh before Pelham (33-11) rallied to score three runs off three hits. Sam Finnerty (10-2), the losing pitcher, stroked a two-RBI single to pull the game to within one run before Scott got the last out on a fly out to right.
     Finnerty also pitched well. He yielded nine hits but only allowed two earned runs while striking out five.   Scott struck out eight.
     Coach Brent Patterson’s lead-off hitter Noah Fondren had three this and scored twice to pace the Bearcats. Orvis Cuello added a double and single and RBI and Sam Huser had two hits.
      Hunter Stovall added an RBI single for Pelham, coached by Sean Anderson, and Hunter Orr had a double to score one run.
      The Class 7A series set to open Friday night at Patterson Field, will feature games one and two at Riverwalk Stadium at 4 and 7 p.m., following the 6A series Saturday. Thompson meets Smiths Station in the 7A finals.
     All games will be live-streamed by the NFHS Network.


Class 5A Baseball Championship Series -- Game 1 Russellville Edges Helena 3-2 As 5A Series Gets Underway

   MONTGOMERY  -- Russellville High School nipped Helena 3-2 Friday night at Riverwalk Stadium to take game one of the AHSAA Class 5A baseball championship series.
   The two teams will play game two of the best-of-three series Saturday morning at Paterson Field at 10 a.m. The third game, if needed, will follow 30 minutes later at approximately 1 p.m.
    The two teams were scheduled to start the series Thursday night but rain pushed back the start until 4 p.m., Friday. More rain pushed the game back to 6:25 p.m.
     Russellville pitcher Cody Greenhill (7-1) threw just 76 pitches in notching the win in a game that took only one hour and 20 minutes to complete. Chris Heaps’ Golden Tigers (34-6) scored two unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth to break open a 1-1 game.
     Coach Helena hurler Riley Davis (2-5) needed only 70 pitches in his six inning of work. Davis allowed seven hits, one earned run and struck out one for Coach P.J. Guy’s Huskies (26-18).
     Landon Oliver collected three of the Golden Tigers’ hits and scored two runs.  Skyler Stephens had a single and RBI and Reed Smith had two hits.
     Helena, the newest high school in Shelby County – opening its doors last August –  was led by shortstop Jake Busby’s double and single. Troy Cordrey had one hit and an RBI.
 All AHSAA baseball championship series games are being live-streamed by the NFHS Network. Details on the broadcast can be found at www.ahsaa.com.

Class 3A Baseball Championship Series -- Game2 and 3 Madison Academy Beats Geneva Twice to Claim State Title

MONTGOMERY  -- Defending state champion Madison Academy rebounded from Thursday night’s first-game loss to beat Geneva 7-2 and 14-2 Friday to capture the AHSAA Class 3A state baseball championship at Riverwalk Stadium.
    Jake Christa (9-2) tossed a four-hitter and struck out six in Friday’s opener to get the win for the Mustangs (29-13).  Third baseman Cody Littlejohn gave him plenty of support at the plate going 3-for-3 with three runs scored and two RBIs. 
    Littlejohn, named the Class 3A state baseball championship series MVP, stroked a triple, walked twice, scored three runs and drove in two runs in the final game as Coach Mike Good’s team closed out the series the 14-2 win.
     Lucas Mordecai (5-4) pitched the five-inning win allowing five hits and striking out one.  Taylor Clemons and Emerson Brooks each had two hits with Clemons collecting a triple driving in four runs.
     In the first game Friday, Geneva starter and loser Jay Stough ran into control problems early walking three in the first inning. Kade McLaney came in to relieve the Panthers hurler and pitch 4 2/3 solid innings striking out three.
    Stough (10-2) started  the final game and continued to have control problems walking two and hitting one as Madison Academy posted six first-inning runs.
    The Panthers (26-11) of Coach Brent Justice were making their first appearance in the state baseball championship finals series.  Madison Academy’s state crown was the school’s third and gave the Mustangs their third boys’ state title of the 2014-15 school year with football last December and basketball in February.

Class 3A Baseball Championship Series -- Game 1 Geneva Beats Madison Academy 5-2

   MONTGOMERY  -- Geneva High School scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning Thursday afternoon to break open a 1-0 game as the Panthers beat defending Class 3A state champion Madison Academy 5-2 in game one of the AHSAA Class 3A state baseball championship series.
    Lead-off hitter Ethan Walker had two hits, scored one run and drove in another and third baseman Cole Worthy had one hit, walked once and scored two runs for Geneva (26-9). Catcher Colby Farris also doubled in one run.
   Coach Brent Justice’s Panthers also got a complete-game effort from winning pitcher Jamison Roney (5-1). The senior allowed five hits over seven innings, one earned run and struck out six.
      Madison Academy (27-13) scored one run in the top of the sixth and seventh innings.  Senior pitcher Taylor Clemons (7-1) pitched six innings, allowed seven hits and struck out five to get the loss.
      The two teams play game two of the best-of-three series at Riverwalk Stadium Friday morning at 10 a.m. The third game, if needed, will follow at approximately 1 p.m.
     The first game of the Class 5A state baseball championship series featuring Helena and Russellville was rained out Thursday night at Paterson Field. The first game is now scheduled to be played at Riverwalk Stadium starting at 4 p.m. with game one. Game two of the series will follow at 7 p.m. Game three, if needed, will has been scheduled for Paterson Field Saturday morning at 10 a.m.
     All baseball series games are being live-streamed by the NFHS Network. Details on the broadcast can be found at www.ahsaa.com.

Class 4A Baseball Championship Series -- Game 2 Trinity Presbyterian Sweeps To Title with 8-5 Win over Brooks

MONTGOMERY  -- Trinity Presbyterian High School pounded 13 hits and scored seven runs early as the Wildcats beat Brooks 8-5 to claim the 2015 AHSAA Class 4A state baseball championship at Riverwalk Stadium Thursday night.
      Junior Robert Adams, who pitched the 3-2 win in game one Wednesday night, was 3-for-3 Thursday to finish the series a perfect 7-for-7 in the two wins to earn Class 4A championship series MVP.
    The state title was the first in Class 4A for Coach Ken Whittle’s Wildcats (31-9-1), who have now won six state championships – at least one in each of five decades starting with the Class 1A title in 1985.  Trinity also became the first school in AHSAA baseball playoff history to win state crowns in four different classifications (1A, 2A, 3A and 4A).  The Wildcats have won three state championships in the last four seasons.
     Thursday’s championship did not come easily, however. Brooks (34-14), making its third championship appearance since 2011, took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning and clawed back into the game with two runs in the fourth and one in the fifth thanks to some clutch hitting by designated hitter Matthew Moore. He had a double and single and three RBIs. Riley Phillips also had a single, scored a run and had an RBI, and Tanner Graham had one hit and two runs scored for Coach Todd Nelms’ Lions.
     Trinity pounded 13 hits, including three doubles and a triple, but left 10 runners on base.  Dalton Hill had two hits and two RBIs, Trace Johnston slugged a double and triple and collected two RBIs, and Charlie Leisy had a double, a single and three RBIs. Mitchell Sellers had two hits.
    Whittle had go into his bullpen using three pitchers to seal the win. Starter Connor Franklin (4-1) tossed 4 1/3 innings allowing five hits and all five runs – two unearned. He struck out two. Dalton Hill pitched 1 2/3 innings in middle relief facing the minimum five batters. Leisy pitched the final inning to get the save.
     Brooks used four pitchers with starter Dustin Henson (8-2) getting the loss.
     Championship action returns to Riverwalk Stadium Friday morning at 10 a.m. with Geneva facing Madison Academy in game two of the Class 3A state championship series at 10 a.m. If needed, game three will be follow immediately at approximately 1 p.m.
       The Class 5A best-of-three series featuring Helena and Russellville continues at 4 p.m. Friday a Riverwalk Stadium. At Paterson Field Friday, Pelham takes on Cullman at 4 p.m. in the first game of the Class 6A state championship series, and Thompson faces Smiths Station in the first game of the 7A championship series at 7 p.m.
    The 6A and 7A series will conclude Saturday at Riverwalk Stadium with 6A getting underway at 10 a.m., and 7A at 4 p.m.
       All games at Paterson Field and Riverwalk Stadium Friday will live-streamed over the NFHS Network.

Class 2A Baseball Championship Series -- Game 2 Mobile Christian Nips Randolph County 3-2 to Sweep Title

   MONTGOMERY  -- Mobile Christian scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning to take an early lead, then relied on clutch pitching a clutch defense to hold off Randolph County late and claimed a 3-2 victory to give the Leopards the AHSAA Class 2A state baseball championship.
     Mobile Christian (30-12) managed just four hits off Randolph County starter Danny Simpson (10-4) – the big one a double in the first inning by center fielder Grayson Williams to plate courtesy runners Luke Jones and Thompson Eastman for the first two runs for Coach Talley Haines’ Leopards.
     Simpson went distance allowing three runs and striking out one for Coach Pat Prestridge’s Tigers (24-9). Randolph County played near flawless defense turning two double plays and committing only one error.
      Anthony Edwards had a single and scored the third run for Mobile Christian.
      Left-hander Tucker Powell (4-2) started and went 4 2/3 innings for the Leopards yielding three hits, walking five and striking out six to get the win.
      Hunter Avery, who pitched five innings to get the win in Wednesday night’s 15-2 first-game triumph, relieved Powell with the bases loaded and the Leopards holding a one-run lead in the fifth. Avery pitched out of the jam by getting the last out and hurled the sixth inning to earn the 2A series MVP.  Will Irwin pitched the seventh inning allowing one hit and no runs to get the save.
      Avery had a double and six RBIs in game one and collected one of the four Leopards hits in game two.
     Hunter Ray had two hits, and J.R. Roundtree slugged a two-RBI double in the fifth for the Tigers.
     Randolph County and Mobile Christian were each making their first appearances in the AHSAA state baseball finals.

Class 4A Baseball Championship Series -- Game 1 Trinity Presbyterian 3, Brooks 2

   MONTGOMERY  -- Trinity Presbyterian High School junior pitcher Robert Adams pitched a complete game and  collected four hits at the plate to lead the Wildcats to a 3-2 win over Brooks Wednesday night in the AHSAA Class 4A state baseball championship series at Paterson Field.
     The game-one win sends Trinity (30-9-1) into game two at 10 a.m. at Riverwalk Stadium Thursday with a 1-0 edge in the best-of-three series.   Adams (10-1) scattered eight hits, walked one and struck out nine.  He opened the game with a single as Coach Ken Whittle’s Wildcats posted two runs in the top of the first inning. Trinity added another run off Brooks pitcher Tanner Graham in the second inning, but Graham (9-1) settled down to blank the Wildcats the rest of the way.
     Graham gave up eight hits, walked four and struck out six in his complete-game effort – getting stronger as the game moved along.
    Brooks, which stranded 12 runners for the game, scored one run in the fifth and had runners on second and third in the sixth and scored one run when Dustin Henson drilled a hard grounder back up the middle. Trinity shortstop Michael Sellers made a diving stab to keep the ball in the infield, a play that kept Coach Todd Nelms’ Lions (34-13) from tying the score.
000    John Hall had a double and RBI and Dalton Hill had an RBI single for Trinity.
    Henson finished with two hits for Brooks. Riley Phillips and Tucker Wilsdorf also had two hits for  the Lions.
     Game two is set for 4 p.m. at Riverwalk Stadium Thursday afternoon. Should a third game be needed in the best-of-three series, it will follow immediately at approximately 7 p.m. Like Wednesday’s game, the final two games will be live-streamed over the NFHS Network.
     Madison Academy and Geneva play at Paterson Field at 4 p.m. in game one of the Class 3A championship series Thursday, and Helena faces Russellville in the 5A series opener at 7 at Paterson.

Class 2A Baseball Championship Series -- Game 1 Mobile Christian 15, Randolph County 2

   MONTGOMERY  -- Mobile Christian pounded 15 hits en route to a 15-2 victory over Randolph County in the first game of the AHSAA Class 2A state baseball championship series Wednesday afternoon at Paterson Field.
    Coach Talley Haines’ Leopards (29-12) scored four runs in the second inning – the big hit coming from winning pitcher Hunter Avery, who drove in three runs with a bases-loaded double off the left-field wall. Avery (11-0) finished the day with one hit and six RBIs.  He allowed just three hits over five innings and struck out five to get the mound win.
   Mobile Christian closed out the six-inning game with six runs in the top of the sixth.
    Logan Gill, Tucker Powell and Trent Avery each had three hits for the Leopards. Chris George and Sam Ladner had two hits each with Ladner driving in three runs.
    Elijah McFarland (12-3) went 4 1/3 innings, allowing 10 hits and striking out five to get the loss. McFarland, Christian Benefield, Danny Simpson and Levi Phillips each had one hit for Coach Pat Prestridge’s Tigers(24-8).
     Game two is set for 10 a.m. at Riverwalk Stadium Thursday morning. Should a third game be needed in the best-of-three series, it will follow immediately at approximately 1 p.m. Like Wednesday’s game, the final two games will be live-streamed over the NFHS Network.


Class 1A Baseball Championship Series -- Game 2 Shoals Christian Beats Brantley 6-4 to Sweep 1A Series

   MONTGOMERY  -- Senior pitcher Josh Vardeman scattered eight hits, allowed one earned run and struck out eight as Shoals Christian beat Brantley 6-4 in game two of the AHSAA Class 1A state baseball championship series Wednesday as the Flame won the 2015 state championship.
     Vardeman (8-1) threw only 90 pitches walking only one.
     Shoals Christian (23-8) trailed 4-2 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning but rallied for one run to pull to 4-3. Coach Jason Anderson’s Flame then exploded for three runs in the sixth to seal the victory. Shoals Christian won game 1 on Tuesday night 7-2.
     Vardeman also had two doubles and a single and Dale Thomas added two hits for Shoals Christian. Junior center fielder Tanner Bozeman, who went 1-for-2 with two walks in game two, earned MVP honors for the Flame. Bozeman pitched the game one win and was 3-of-5 with a double, three RBIs, two walks and one hit by pitch to reach based six of his eight appearances.
     Brantley (15-19), coached by Greg Evans, got a solid pitching effort from Jacob Free (5-3). The sophomore yielded nine hits and three earned runs while striking out five.   Catcher Tate Tatom slugged two doubles including on off the top of the left-field wall for a near home run.  Right fielder Mack Wise had a triple and two RBIs, and lead-off hitter Riley Jobin had double and single and finished the series 5-for-8.
    The state title was the fourth in school history for Shoals Christian – all under Anderson’s direction. The Flame also won in 2010, 2011 and 2012.  Brantley won its only state title in 2009.