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RHS sweeps Leeds in baseball playoffs to advance to 5A semifinals

The Russellville baseball team hosted the Leeds Greenwave in round three of the AHSAA Class 5A playoffs, and the Golden Tigers got the sweep to advance.

Russellville took game one of the best-of-three quarterfinal series by a 15-4 final score in six innings and followed that up with an 11-0 victory in a five-inning game.

The two teams waited out a long rain delay during game two that came just before the start of the third inning. After the tarp was removed from the field and play resumed, both starting pitchers remained in the game.

Nathan Brockway of Russellville had a big night at the plate. In game one, the senior had two home runs, including a grand slam, and seven RBIs. He went two-for-three in the second game with a double and two additional RBIs.

Teammate Andrew Hatton went a combined four-for-five in the series – on his birthday! – including a two-run homer that ended game one. Hatton’s home run was a career first for the senior second baseman.

Game 1: Russellville 15, Leeds 4

Leeds jumped out to a 1-0 first inning advantage before the Golden Tigers answered with four runs of their own in the bottom half of the frame. After the Golden Tigers grew their lead to 6-1 after two innings, LHS added single runs in the third and fourth innings to make the score 6-3.

Russellville tacked on three runs in the bottom of the fourth and another in the fifth before Leeds brought home another run on a ground-out in the sixth.

Five runs in the bottom half of the inning by RHS ended the contest that was capped by the Hatton home run.

Grayson Thorpe, Eli Gipson and Ethan Oliver all had two hits each for Russellville. They were joined in the hit column by Brayden Heaps, Brayden Spurgeon and Casen Heaps. Gipson, Oliver and Casen Heaps joined Brockway and Hatton with RBIs.

Banks Langston got the start on the mound and went the distance for Russellville. He struck out seven, walked two and allowed one earned run.

Game 2: Russellville 11, Leeds 0

Game two was all Russellville, with the Golden Tigers scoring five runs in the second inning, one in the third and five more in the fifth to advance to the semifinals against Madison Academy. The battle between the two talented squads will be held in Russellville this year after the Golden Tigers defeated the Mustangs on the road a season ago in the same round to advance to the state championship series.

Russellville (31-11) got four innings from starter Logan White. The junior lefty allowed two hits, struck out four and walked two. Samuel Pace struck out two during the game’s final inning and allowed no hits or walks.

Thorpe, Oliver, Brockway, Hatton and Casen Heaps all led RHS with two hits each. Also hitting safely were Brayden Heaps and Spurgeon. One of Casen Heaps’ hits was a triple, and he drove in three runs during the contest. Oliver picked up two RBIs, and Thorpe added one.

“This is the way it should be,” said Russellville head coach Chris Heaps of the highly-anticipated series with Madison Academy. “I think, just my opinion, the two best teams in the north are going to face each other next week.

“David Pressley (Madison Academy head coach) is dear to my heart. He played for me, and I love him like a brother,” Heaps said. “They are going to come ready, and it’s going to be war here next week. They’ll do a great job. They’ve got a good team, a close-knit team, and we’ve got a family here.”