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RHS baseball season opens

By Brannon King

For the FCT

Russellville 1, Florence 0

The much-anticipated baseball season opener lived up to expectations Wednesday in Russellville. The Golden Tigers, coming off the 2015 Class 5A state championship, defeated the Florence Falcons 1-0 in thrilling walk-off fashion as Judd Ward singled in Andrew Guinn with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning.

A large number of scouts were in attendance armed with radar guns and notepads to witness the pitching duel between Russellville’s Cody Greenhill and Florence’s Brax Garrett. Greenhill, a junior committed to Auburn, pitched seven shutout innings to get the win. He had ten strikeouts and allowed four hits. Garrett, a Vanderbilt commit, threw over 115 pitches and struck out 13 batters while giving up six hits, but took the loss.

Russellville’s Landon Oliver went two for three at the plate. Ward, Austin Kitterman, Landon Ezzell and Austin Bohannon also had hits for the Golden Tigers.

“I was super proud of our pitching,” Russellville head Coach Chris Heaps said after the game. “We weren’t going to go that last inning with him, and he came over, and he said, ‘Coach, please don’t take me out.’ He said, ‘I want it.’”

Russellville 13, Sheffield 2

The Golden Tigers traveled to Sheffield to take on the Bulldogs Thursday and came away with their second win of the season.

Skylar Holland was the star of the day with two homeruns and seven RBI for Russellville. Judd Ward went three for four at the plate and scored three runs while Landon Oliver was two for three with two runs batted in. Austin Bohannon had three RBI and two runs scored to go along with a hit. Reed Smith (2), Russ Carpenter (1), Cody Greenhill (1) and Colin Garrison (1) also had hits.

Chad Wray started the game on the mound for Russellville, and Bailey Thompson later came in to finish off the Bulldogs.

Russellville 9, Brooks 5

The duo of Landon Oliver and Judd Ward continued their hot hitting to lead Russellville past Brooks in the first of two home games Friday.

Oliver was three for four with four RBI and two runs scored. Ward went three for four with two runs scored and one run batted in. Reed Smith (1), Landon Ezzell (1), Skylar Holland (1) and Colin Garrison (1) all had hits for the Golden Tigers.

Austin Bohannon pitched four strong innings for the win. Skylar Holland finished up the game on the mound for RHS.

Russellville 11, Fayette County 2

The Golden Tigers welcomed a familiar face back to the mound as Austin Kitterman pitched five innings and struck out 11 to get the win in his first pitching performance for RHS since an ATV accident in 2014.  Kitterman was cleared to pitch this season after playing last year in the outfield for Russellville.

Austin Bohannon went two for three at the plate and drove in three runs for Russellville, while Reed Smith went three for four with three runs scored. Landon Ezzell had two hits, and Judd Ward was one for two with two RBI. Landon Oliver continued his four-game hitting streak with a hit in the fourth inning. Bailey Thompson and Andrew Guinn both had a hit for RHS.

Colin Garrison came on in relief of Kitterman and pitched the final two innings.

Colbert Heights 5, Russellville 2

The Wildcats stunned the Golden Tigers and snapped their 25-game winning streak that dated back to last season with a walk-off three-run homerun in the bottom of the eighth inning by Justin Roberts on Saturday.

Russellville (4-1) had battled back in the top of the seventh inning to tie the game. Colbert Heights managed to get two hits in the game but both were homeruns, one by Roberts and the other by Wallace State signee Zack Gipson.

Landon Ezzell started the game on the mound for Russellville and went six innings, giving up one hit and one run. Cody Greenhill came on to pitch a scoreless seventh, and Colin Garrison pitched the eighth.

Reed Smith, Judd Ward, Landon Oliver (who suffered a shoulder injury while making a catch in the outfield early in the game), Bailey Thompson, Skylar Holland and Russ Carpenter all had hits for Russellville.