Golden Tigers advance to 5A baseball playoffs quarterfinals

The Russellville Golden Tigers got a second-round sweep of the Leeds Greenwave to advance to the quarterfinals of the AHSAA Class 5A baseball playoffs.

Russellville (22-13) got a 2-1 victory in game one of the series with the help of a complete-game from senior pitcher Logan White. The Golden Tigers followed with a 9-5 triumph in game two to eliminate Leeds from the playoffs at RHS for the second-consecutive year.

In game one, the two teams were tied 0-0 going into the bottom half of the sixth inning when the Golden Tigers finally broke through with two runs. Banks Langston led things off with a single and Brodie Vandiver followed with a walk. Leeds then got two outs on a double play that advanced Langston to third. Brayden Spurgeon drew another walk and with heads-up base running advanced to second to set the stage for Cayden Johns.

Earlier in the contest, the third baseman of Leeds robbed Johns of a bases loaded hit to end a first inning threat. This time, Johns smacked a line-drive in the air to the outfield that was misplayed resulting in an error that allowed both Langston and Spurgeon to score.

A Leeds attempt for a last inning rally plated one run on a single but White later finished off the Greenwave in front of the energetic and large home crowd. In seven innings of work, the left-hander allowed five hits and struck out three. Howard also pitched a complete game for Leeds allowing four hits and they were by Brandt Cummings, Langston, Vandiver and Spurgeon.

“Logan White was outstanding on the mound,” Russellville head coach Jess Smith said. “He just kept throwing up zeros for us and we found a way to make it happen there late.”
In game two, Russellville scored first with three runs in the top of the second inning with RBI hits coming from Eli Boutwell, Shayden Romans and White. The Golden Tigers added three more in the third on RBI hits from Neyland Baker and Boutwell that came before a bases loaded RBI walk by White.

RHS added another run in the fifth on Boutwell’s third RBI hit of the contest and the Golden Tigers were up 6-0 when Leeds answered with five runs in the fifth that all came without the aid of a hit in the inning. Russellville finished the scoring with two insurance runs on a Langston RBI double and a Baker sacrifice-fly RBI.

Russellville used two pitchers with Langston getting the start. The senior went four innings and allowed three runs with two being earned. The righty gave up two hits, struck out four and walked four. Spurgeon followed in relief and allowed two earned runs and one hit. During three innings of work on the mound, the senior struck out four and walked seven.

“I want to give a shout-out to our fans,” an appreciative Smith said after the series win. “They make Russellville a tough place to play. I mean, you talk about home field advantage, our community definitely gives that to us and they were awesome tonight.”

Next, the Golden Tigers will travel for the first time in this year’s playoffs. Russellville will face the Sardis Lions (26-6) in a best-of-three series.

 

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