Golden Tigers prepare for Hartselle
A lot has happened in regards to the first-round playoff scenario for the Golden Tigers since the regular season ended.
Two players were ruled by the AHSAA to have played in too many tournaments for Muscle Shoals. This put the Trojans travelling to Cullman instead of hosting Hartselle.
“I went to Coach [David] Langston (at Muscle Shoals)and told him I felt a couple of his players were not eligible to play because they had played in three tournaments,” Russellville head coach Chris Heaps said.
“They played in the TimesDaily Varsity, TimesDaily Junior Varsity and the spring break tournament they played in. I told him he might want to take a look at it before we played, and he chose not to.
“I just felt that it wasn’t a wise decision to not even consider the situation. When I went to him before we played, I felt like I was giving him a professional courtesy, and I told him I hoped he would do the same to me.
“Now I’m a villain in Muscle Shoals, I guess. When someone comes to you and brings a problem to your attention and you choose not to look at it, it doesn’t make me a villain at all, it makes me a professional. That’s the way I see it. It came back that those players did play in all three tournaments.
“The AHSAA ended up ruling against them and they had to forfeit four games, two against Cullman and two against us. One of those games we lost against them. That forfeit made us tied in the area, and we had won the tiebreaker against them.”
According to Heaps players are allowed to play 18 dates and in two tournaments, hence the trouble for the Trojans players who played in three tourneys.
Now Russellville will host the Hartselle Tigers, ranked No. 6 in Class 5A.
Just a few short years ago Heaps called Hartselle home.
“It’s a very rewarding experience I think. Win or lose, there is a lot of pride between myself and Coach [William] Booth,” Heaps said.
“We both want to do well against each other. We talked to each other several times leading up to this, but we haven’t talked at all this week, and that’s par for the course for something like this. I didn’t really want to tell him anything, and I’m sure he felt the same about me. I’m sure we’ll talk again after this series is over.”
With the Tigers ranked No. 6 in the ASWA polls, the Golden Tigers know they are facing a tough opponent.
“I hope we can show up and put together a solid performance. I honestly believe if we can get a good performance out of our pitchers where we aren’t walking batters and making errors, we can play on the field with anybody,” Heaps said.