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RHS open playoffs with Pleasant Grove sweep

The Russellville varsity baseball team’s quest for another successful AHSAA Class 5A playoff run to a state title got underway with a first round sweep of Pleasant Grove.

RHS (27-11) hosted the Spartans April 22 and had no trouble putting away the visitors with five-inning game scores of 17-0 and 16-0. The two shutouts marked the sixth time in the past eight games that Russellville pitchers have not allowed a run.

In game one, the Golden Tigers jumped out to a 4-0 first inning lead with the help of a three-run Canyon Pace home run. Pace later added a double and finished the game with five RBIs.

Nathan Brockway added two hits, including a double, and drove in three runs. Brayden Spurgeon helped RHS with another double and also had three RBIs.

Eli Gipson had two hits, including a double, and the shortstop scored two runs and drove home one.

Also picking up an extra-base hit was Casen Heaps. The centerfielder drove in two runs and scored twice.

Andrew Hatton had two hits, and he was joined in the hit column by Grayson Thorpe and Daniel Askew.

Banks Langston has been outstanding on the mound during the season, and Friday was no different. The junior right-hander and son of RHS pitching coach David Langston got the start and went four innings. He allowed two hits and struck out seven without issuing a walk.

Senior Emitt Green worked the game’s final frame. He allowed no hits or walks and struck out one.

In game two, Russellville had a 6-0 lead after four innings and erupted for 10 more in the fifth to get the best-of-three series win. Gipson had a first-inning homer this time on his way to a two-RBI game.

Additional extra-base hits were by Brockway, Hatton and Spurgeon. Other RHS batters with two RBIs included Shayden Romans, Pace, Spurgeon and Hatton. Thorpe and Brockway drove in one run each.

Junior left-hander Logan White got the start on the mound for Russellville. He went four innings and allowed one hit. He struck out seven and walked one.

Samuel Pace pitched the final inning, allowing no hits and walks, and he struck out two.

Next, the Golden Tigers will travel to Odenville for a round two matchup with St. Clair County. The series is scheduled to begin with a double header April 29, with game three April 30 if needed.