RHS rips Hartselle in area battle

By Staff
Todd Thompson
Hartselle Enquirer
With a 12-2 win over the defending Class 5A state champions Monday, the Russellville Golden Tigers became a factor in the Area 15 race again.
Russellville improved to 21-10 overall with the win.
The Golden Tigers are 1-2 in the area race, tied with Hartselle.
The two teams were scheduled to meet again Tuesday in a doubleheader at Hartselle’s Rueben Sims Field.
Russellville scored seven runs in the third inning to break open the game. Nathan Vincent’s grand slam in the inning provided much of the spark for the Golden Tigers, who were swept by Athens just a week earlier in area play.
The Golden Tigers overcame an early 1-0 deficit with five runs in the bottom half of the first inning off Hartselle starter Austin Reeves.
John Batchelor drove in two runs with a single and Mark Davis added a 3-run homer to put Russellville in front 5-1.
The Golden Tigers’ early production was more than enough for starter Ryan Bowling, who struck out six in the five-inning win.
Bowling limited Hartselle to just four hits in the win.
Jonas Boyles had three hits for Russellville in the win, while
Batchelor added two hits.
Hartselle loaded the bases in the first inning against Bowling with the help of a bunt single from Ryan Joy, but came away with just one run on a Drew Cowan grounder to third.
But Bowling got out of the jam with a strikeout – his second of the inning – to end the Hartselle threat.
Joy finished with two singles for Hartselle. Robby Reece and Zach
Letson added singles in the losing effort.
Russellville’s first four batters of the third inning produced hits to chase Hartselle starter Austin Reeves from the mound with one out.
Riland Blankenship came on to surrender a pair of walks – including a bases-loaded pass to Jake Ward – to score a run.
Vincent followed with his grand slam down the left field line that drew protests from the Hartselle coaching staff who thought the ball was foul.
Bowling set down six of the next eight Hartselle batters to end the game with the 10-run rule.