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Golden Tiger baseball hits hot streak

The Russellville Golden Tigers are on a roll, winning 10 of their Past 12 varsity baseball games. The Class 5A No. 6-ranked team won the most recent four contests by a combined score of 45-4 to improve to 15-9 on the season.

Russellville 14, Austin 2

RHS traveled to Decatur March 29 to battle the Black Bears of Austin. It took six innings to get the win, with Eli Gipson and Reed Hill leading the way with three hits apiece.

Gipson had a triple, four RBIs and scored twice. Hill doubled twice, drove in a run and scored once.

Grayson Thorpe had two hits, three RBIs and three runs. Canyon Pace homered, and extra-base hits were collected by Ethan Oliver and Brayden Spurgeon with doubles. Oliver had two RBIs, as well, and Andrew Hatton also had a hit and scored twice.

Samuel Pace got the start and the win on the mound. He went five innings, allowing two runs with one being earned. He struck out four, walked one and allowed six hits.

Brayden Heaps worked the game’s final inning, allowing no hits on 16 pitches.

Russellville 3, Loretto, Tenn., 2

The Golden Tigers hosted the Loretto Mustangs March 31 and got the close victory to sweep the season series between the two schools.

Loretto grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning before RHS answered with a run in the bottom half of the frame on a Hatton sacrifice fly.

The Golden Tigers took the lead in the fifth with two runs – the first scoring on an RBI ground-out by Canyon Pace and the other on a dropped pop-up by an LHS infielder.

Thorpe and Casen Heaps had two hits each for Russellville. An injured ankle forced Casen Heaps to leave the game after he hustled to first on his second hit.

Oliver had a double. Also hitting safely were Canyon Pace, Hill and Banks Langston.

Emitt Green pitched the game’s first 3 2/3 innings. He allowed two runs on one hit, struck out two and walked three.

Hill came on in relief and picked up the win. He allowed two hits, struck out seven and walked one.

Also helping the RHS cause was the defense of Gipson and Hatton from their middle infield positions of shortstop and second base.

“Emitt was 13-1 last year, all-state and was just lights out, and he’s struggled a little bit this year, but he’s looked really good in some spots,” said Russellville head coach Chris Heaps. “Tonight, the first time through their line-up, I thought he looked like the Emitt that we’re looking for: He was pounding the zone with the fastball, throwing the curve for strikes – but then he got a little bit out of command, and he walked three and hit three.

“Normally, in a close game, if you walk three and hit three, you don’t win, but we played exceptional defense,” Heaps explained. “Andrew Hatton made a big-league play to his glove side and a backhand play that was really nice. Gipson made multiple big-time plays. The bare hand play in the six hole and the play in the middle where he turns and throws – That guy is unconscious.”

Russellville 10, Arab 0

Russellville went to Arab April 2 and blanked the Knights.

Langston got the start and went six innings. He threw 91 pitches and allowed two hits and one walk and struck out nine for the win. Spurgeon pitched the final frame.

Gipson hit a home run as part of a three-for-three performance. He had two RBIs, scored twice and walked twice.

Shayden Romans had three hits, including two doubles, and he also scored twice. Nathan Brockway was three-for-three with a double and a run, while Canyon Pace and Hatton had three hits apiece. Hatton had two RBIs, as did Hill, who doubled.

Also driving in runs were Brayden Heaps, E.J. Jones and Thorpe.

Russellville 18, Hokes Bluff 0

The second game of the day in Arab for RHS April 2 was a dominating five-inning win over Hokes Bluff.

Gipson continued his hot hitting with a four-for-five game. He doubled twice, had four RBIs and scored four times.

Canyon Pace had three hits, including a double. He scored three runs and drove in two.

Hill had two hits, three RBIs and two runs, while Hatton had a hit, a walk, three RBIs and a run. Romans picked up two hits, a run and an RBI, and he was joined in the hit column by Brockway, Spurgeon and Karson Hyde. The hit by Hyde was a double, while Brockway had one RBI and Spurgeon drove in two.

Brayden Heaps pitched two innings, allowing no hits. He struck out three and walked one. Logan White worked three innings, striking out three and allowing three hits and no walks.

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