MONTGOMERY – Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa rallied in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat Cullman 4-3 Friday night at Paterson Field in game one of the Class 6A State Baseball Championship Series. Game two moves to Riverwalk Stadium Saturday at 4 p.m. Game three will follow at approximately 7 p.m. if needed.
Cullman (40-12) took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning, but Hillcrest tied the game to set up the exciting finish. Coach Brent Patterson’s Bearcats took the lead again 3-2 in the top of the seventh before Coach Mark Garner’s Patriots scored twice to win.
Michael Garner pitched 6 1/3 innings allowing three hits and three runs for Hillcrest. Reliever Tyler Frederick (5-1) got the final two outs in the seventh to get the win in relief. He faced three batters and struck out one.
Cullman’s Jacob Heatherly pitched six innings allowing four hits and striking out four. Carter Bowen and Levi Thomas pitched in the seventh. Bowen (5-4) got the loss.
Blake Robbins had a single and two RBIs for the Patriots. Frederick also had a hit, scored a run and drew a crucial walk. Sage Bailey also had a hit and scored a run, and Walt Bailey had two hits.
Kolby Robinson had three hits as leadoff hitter for Cullman. Ben Smith had a pinch-hit single and RBI.
All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.