Cullman ends historical RHS season

By Staff
Kim West, Franklin County Times
Cullman (46-7) used two big innings in two consecutive games to knock the Russellville Golden Tigers (42-9) from their at a state title.
Over the course of this season Russellville had become known in Class 5A for their offensive firepower, but the Bearcats kept most of the big bats silent Friday and Saturday en route to12-1 and 6-4 wins.
"They've got great pitching, but it wasn't dominating stuff," Russellville coach David Ward said. "…They were ready for us."
In game one, Torey Baird's solo homerun in the sixth inning was the lone highlight in the Golden Tigers' 12-1 loss.
The Golden Tigers went into Saturday's game needing to win both games against the No. 1 ranked team in 5A to keep their title hopes alive.
Russellville jumped on the board first with an RBI single from Corey Flanagan, which scored Caleb Mitchell.
Cullman tied the score at one-all in the third inning.
Cullman made a huge dent in the scoreboard in the fifth, putting together a four run inning.
With visions of a championship ring beginning to fade, Russellville stormed back in the top of the sixth.
Baird blasted his second homerun of the series – this one a two run shot scoring Patrick Hines – to slice the Cullman lead to two runs.
A base bit by Caleb Mitchell scored Patrick Hines to bring the Golden Tigers to within one run with an inning to play.
Cullman used the bottom of the sixth to add an insurance run, pushing their lead to two runs and sealing the win.
The two losses ended the Golden Tigers' historical season – a season in which the team passed the 40 win mark and advanced deeper into the state playoffs than ever before.
Ward and Cullman coach Bryan Bowen exchanged a handshake after game two in which Ward wished the Bearcats a little more than luck in their fifth trip to Montgomery in the last six years.
"They're a good ball club, but so are we," he said. "I want the team that beats us to win it all."

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