Pinson Valley’s pitching had no answer for Hartselle’s bats.
The Tigers (42-15) racked up 17 hits and 17 runs in the doubleheader on a warm, windy Saturday at Reuben Sims Field, as Hartselle swept the Indians (32-14) 7-2, 10-0 to advance to its 11th state championship series in school history.
Hartselle head coach William Booth said everything was clicking for his team.
“It’s almost a perfect series for us,” Booth said. “We hadn’t played this well in years.
“I’m sort of emotional about this team right now. We played so well. We played great defensively. We pitched so well. We had some timely hitting.”
Pinson Valley head coach Shane Chappell didn’t make any excuses for his team’s performance, especially since the series was rained out on Friday.
“We didn’t have our best stuff, but give credit to Hartselle,” he said. “They’re good. They have a lot of tradition and they were just better today.”
Pinson Valley drew first blood in the series. In the top of the second inning, Jared McCurdy drew a leadoff walk and went to second on Baker Hodges’ sacrifice bunt.
Austin Little brought him home on an RBI single.
Hartselle erased that deficit in the bottom of the second, thanks to a sacrifice flyball from Blake Slayton. That allowed Aaron Lamb to score from third base.
The Indians attempted to throw Colton Ord, who also tagged up to take third base. The throw went past the bag, allowing Ord to come home.
Aaron Lamb added another run on double in the fourth inning, bringing home Tanner Oakes from second base.
Deacon Aldridge put a dent in car parked behind the left field fence on his solo home run in the fifth inning.
Slayton added two more RBIs on a bases-loaded single with one out in the sixth inning. Zane Hamlett followed it up with a sacrifice RBI.
South Carolina signee Jackson Smith earned the win, allowing one earned run on three hits with four walks and three strikeouts. Aldridge got the final three outs, allowing one earned run on two hits.
That last Pinson run came on Tyler Evans ground out, scoring Joshua Hines who reached on a double. Hines and Scott Falkinburg led the Indians attack with two hits apiece.
Colby Wingard took the loss, allowing three earned runs on seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
In the second game, Brett Blackwood smoked the Indians, going 3-for-4 with three runs scored and four RBIs. He recorded his 100th hit of the season with an RBI double in the fifth inning, which also set a new state record for RBIs in a season.
Blackwood also hit his 17th home run of the season, a two-run shot in the third inning.
Aldridge also had a pair of hits with a double, two runs scored and an RBI. Ord also racked up three RBIs.
Tillman Landers picked up the win, allowing two hits with three walks and a pair of strikeouts. Ord finished up the final two innings, striking out three of the six batters he faced.
Bailey Chesser took the loss, allowing six earned runs on six hits with two walks and a strikeout in 42/3 innings. Wyatt Burns allowed two more earned runs on four hits and two walks.
Chappell added that his seniors will have a special place in his heart.
“This is their third coach in four years,” Chappell said. “To accomplish what they’ve accomplished in spite of the coaching changes, it really hadn’t mattered who was coaching or who was leading. Those guys are winners. They’ll always be successful just because they work hard.”
Brent Maze is the managing editor of the Hartselle Enquirer.