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Golden Tigers progress to second round playoffs

By Brannon King / For the FCT

Russellville 6, Haleyville 1

The Golden Tigers started off a big week of baseball by claiming two wins against the Haleyville Lions on Senior Night at RHS. Russellville took game one in front of a full house as part of RCS Golden Tiger Pride Night April 19.

Austin Bohannon got the start on the mound and threw two shutout innings as a tune-up for the playoffs later in the week. Austin Kitterman came on in relief and pitched three innings to pick up the win. Chad Wray threw the final two innings, and he gave up no hits or runs and struck out four batters.

Judd Ward led the way at the plate by going 2-3 with a triple, walk, two RBIs, a stolen base and a run scored. Reed Smith, Landon Oliver, Cody Greenhill, Landon Ezzell and Bohannon all had hits for RHS.

Russellville 11, Haleyville 2

Senior Bailey Thompson starred on the mound in game two for RHS. He got the start and pitched three innings, allowing no runs, hits or walks, and he struck out eight Lions.

Greenhill got the win in relief of Thompson, and Skylar Holland worked three innings, allowing no runs.

Three other seniors, Smith, Oliver and Bohannon, shined at the plate. Oliver crushed two home runs, and Smith had one of his own. Oliver went 2-3 in the game, and he scored three runs and drove in three. Meanwhile, Smith scored three times, drove in two and got on base four out of five times.  Bohannon went 2-4, including a double, two runs scored and a RBI.

Andrew Guinn, Kitterman, Thompson and Ward all added hits for Russellville, with Thompson’s hit being a triple.

Russellville 12, Boaz 1 (Class 5A Playoffs, Round 1)

Russellville jumped out to a 7-0 first inning lead and batted around in front of a big home crowd to make a statement that the Golden Tigers are ready to try to claim a second straight state championship.

Smith went to the plate first for RHS and promptly homered. Later in the first inning, Bohannon hit a grand slam that set off a big celebration from the Golden Tigers. Kitterman added a home run in the second inning to make the score 8-0, and the rout was on.

Oliver (2), Smith (2), Kitterman (2), Holland (2), Ezzell (2), Ward (1), Bohannon (1) and Colin Garrison (1) all had hits for RHS. Greenhill got the win by pitching four innings. He gave up three hits, one run and had nine strike outs. Chad Wray pitched a spotless final inning to finish off the Pirates in game one.

“It was exciting,” Russellville head coach Chris Heaps said. “You look up in the stands and see that many people here, and then you look out behind the field and you see your students’ strong support and people out tailgating. We just had a great night, good atmosphere and a beautiful night to play baseball.”

Russellville 10, Boaz 0 (Class 5A Playoffs, Round 1)

The Golden Tigers took game two on Friday night in the best-of-three series to eliminate the Pirates and move on to round two of the playoffs.

Russellville excelled on the mound and at the plate to pick up the big win. The Golden Tigers only allowed one hit and picked up 16 of their own in the game.

Bohannon started the game and was the winning pitcher. He worked four innings, gave up a hit and no runs. He struck out ten and only walked one batter. Kitterman pitched the last inning and struck out two hitters.

Ward went 3-3 at the plate with two doubles, two RBIs and a run scored. Smith (2), Kitterman (2), Bohannon (2), Greenhill (2), Ezzell (2), Oliver (1), Thompson (1) and Holland (1) all had hits for RHS.

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The Golden Tigers will take on Lawrence County in the next round at home with games one and two taking place April 29 and game three on the following day if necessary.

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