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RHS baseball clinches area title with sweep of West Point

The No. 1-ranked in Class 5A Russellville Golden Tigers can add “area champions” to their growing list of accomplishments during the 2021 varsity baseball season.

RHS swept the West Point Warriors to clinch the area title and the home field advantage for the first round of the upcoming playoffs. The Golden Tigers had already won both games against their other area opponent, Lawrence County, to finish area play with a perfect record.

Russellville hosted West Point April 6 and defeated the Warriors 5-0.

“Winning the area championship was our primary goal,” said Russellville head coach Chris Heaps. “Secondary goals would be, ‘Let’s try to win 30 games,’ and ‘Let’s win the Gulf Coast Classic,’ and we were able to do that.

“Tonight, we’re at 29 wins, so I think that we can get to 30 wins.”

Heaps emphasized the importance of being area champs and starting the playoffs at home.

Reed Hill broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the third inning with a double off of the fence in left-centerfield that brought home three runs.

Grayson Thorpe added a couple of insurance runs in the fifth inning on one of his two doubles in the contest. Thorpe was 3-for-3 at the plate on the day, and Eli Gipson added two hits and scored a run. Nick Smith, Canyon Pace and Casen Heaps also hit safely for Russellville.

Emitt Green pitched a complete game for the win. He threw 87 pitches and allowed four hits and two walks. The right-hander struck out seven during seven innings of work.

The two teams played a double-header at West Point April 8, with Russellville winning 3-1 in the first game of the evening to improve their area record to 4-0. The run by West Point was the first allowed by RHS pitching in area competition this season.

Rowe Gallagher got the start on the mound and the win for Russellville. He pitched five innings, allowing a run on four hits and a walk. Gallagher struck out five and walked a batter.

Samuel Pace got the save by pitching two hitless innings. He struck out four batters and walked one while throwing 31 pitches.

Cole Barnett hit a home run to even the score at 1-1 in the second inning, and the senior also picked up a late RBI on a hit to put the Golden Tigers on top.

Jackson Lindsey also had a big day at the plate. He went 3-for-4 with three doubles, and he scored a run. Nick Smith and Banks Langston also had hits for RHS.

Russellville took the next game over West Point by an 8-3 score. Canyon Pace and Shayden Romans had two hits each to lead the Golden Tigers.

Lindsey, Smith, Hill, Barnett, JD Bishop and Karson Hyde all hit safely.

Gordon White got the start and pitched five innings for the win. He allowed three unearned runs and gave up nine hits. He struck out six and walked two.

Brayden Heaps and Reed Hill both worked hitless innings of relief.

Scottsboro came to RHS April 9, and the Golden Tigers took both games over the Wildcats.

Russellville won game one 4-1 behind solid pitching from winning pitcher Banks Langston and reliever Reed Hill. Langston gave up no runs over four innings.

RHS got hits from Gipson, Lindsey, Smith, Hill, Canyon Pace, Thorpe and Casen Heaps.

Russellville (29-4) took a weather-shortened five-inning win in game two by an 8-1 total to extend their winning-streak to 15 games. Ethan Oliver pitched the entire game, allowing four hits and striking out three. Thorpe had two RBIs and two hits, including a triple. Gipson, Lindsey and Smith also had RHS hits.