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Dominant pitching earns RHS area baseball championship

Russellville’s varsity baseball team wrapped up another Class 5A area championship with a sweep of the West Point Warriors. The Golden Tigers have earned the right to host the first round of the playoffs against Pleasant Grove.

The No. 4-ranked Golden Tigers also celebrated senior night during a busy week of games.

Russellville 5, West Point 0

RHS went to West Point April 12 and got a tremendous pitching performance from Banks Langston. The junior pitched a complete game for the win.

The right-hander needed 69 pitches to blank the Warriors. He allowed four hits, struck out seven and walked none.

Canyon Pace had the big night with a grand slam home run. Ethan Oliver added a double, while Grayson Thorpe and Andrew Hatton also hit safely.

Russellville 2, West Point 0

The Golden Tigers hosted West Point for a senior night double-header April 14.

Logan White continued the outstanding pitching for RHS with another complete game win. White needed 67 pitches to throw a two-hitter. The junior lefty struck out six and issued no walks.

The two teams were scoreless until the fifth inning, when Russellville scored twice.

Hatton led RHS with two hits. He was joined in the hit column by Thorpe, Eli Gipson, Reed Hill, Brayden Spurgeon and Casen Heaps. Gipson picked up an RBI with a sacrifice fly, and the duo of Hatton and Heaps scored the runs.

With the victory, RHS clinched the area title and completed area play with a spotless record over area opponents West Point and Lawrence County.

Russellville 10, West Point 0

No area tie-breaker was needed, but the Golden Tigers turned in a dominating performance in game two of the double-header against the Warriors.

Senior pitcher Samuel Pace kept the shut-out streak alive with a five-inning win. Pace threw 70 pitches and allowed one hit. The righty struck out 11 and walked two.

Thorpe was three-for-three including a double, run and RBI. Casen Heaps hit a home run and drove in three runs. Oliver added a double, walk, run and two RBIs. Gipson doubled, drove in a run and walked, while Langston and Hatton had hits and RBIs.

Canyon Pace also hit safely with a double, and he also walked and scored a run.

“We did some things really well,” said Russellville head coach Chris Heaps. “Everything is kind of firing at the time of the year that you want it clicking on all cylinders. We still have some things that we need to improve, like a couple of base running miscues and things like that. If we clean that up, I think we have a chance to be really, really, really good.”

Senior night was also a success for the group of Golden Tigers. “That was a blessing, and that’s a big group,” Heaps said. We’re really going to miss them.”

This year’s RHS baseball seniors are Hatton, Thorpe, Oliver, Samuel Pace, Nathan Brockway, Gipson, Canyon Pace, Nate Medley, Hill and Emitt Green.

Jasper 3, Russellville 2

RHS went to Jasper April 16 for two games. TheClass 6A No. 8 Vikings took the opening game with a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Hatton scored a run and had two hits, including a double. Thorpe and Gipson had the Russellville RBIs, with Gipson picking up a single.

RHS used three pitchers, with Green getting the start. Green allowed one unearned run over five innings. Spurgeon and Hill were next to the mound for the Golden Tigers in relief.

Russellville 8, Jasper 2

The Golden Tigers (24-11) bounced back with a victory in game two of the rainy day.

Brayden Heaps got the start on the mound and got the win. The junior left-hander went five innings, allowing two runs and one hit. He struck out seven and walked three.

Hill worked the game’s final two innings allowed no hits. Hill struck out three and walked one.

Spurgeon had two doubles, a run and an RBI to lead RHS. Oliver smacked a double and had two RBIs while Hill added a hit, walk and RBI and scored a run.

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