The run is over.
A six-run third inning from Hueytown and a strong outing by Gophers' righty Luke Walden was too much for Gardendale to overcome on Saturday in a winner-take-all series finale. Walden carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning and the eighth-ranked Gophers (32-11) moved on with a 6-3 quarterfinal victory.
The third-round series opened with a Friday split.
No. 7 Cullman visits Hueytown in the semifinals next week.
Walden’s no-no was broken up by Gardendale senior James Hancock in the fifth, as the Rockets came alive for three runs to cut the late deficit in half. Walden was relieved by Spencer Jinks, who surrendered RBIs to Keegan Hudson, Isaac Sims and Hayes Haygood.
All of Hueytown’s damage was done in the top of the third. The Gophers loaded the bases with no outs and sent six runs around—four of them on Gardendale starter Presley Walker and two more on his relief, Daniel Bradley.
Luke Nolen and Traeshon Hall highlighted the big frame with a pair of two-run doubles.
Gardendale’s first season under head coach Ryan Keedy comes to an end with an overall record of 22-10, including a postseason mark of 5-2. Keedy and the Rockets swept their first two playoff opponents: Pinson Valley and Hartselle.
He took to Twitter on Saturday following the season-ending loss.
As a competitor, I’m sick to my stomach. I hate losing. But what outweighs that is my love for our players, especially our seniors. I can’t say enough about them and how hard they worked this year. Hopefully we can build off this season for the future of Gardendale baseball.— Ryan Keedy (@rkeedy1121) May 4, 2019