Cullman Baseball winning streak ends in Hartselle; Cullman Softball falls in Mortimer Jordan

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HARTSELLE – Cullman's eight-game winning streak was put to rest on Saturday afternoon by arch-rival Hartselle 4-1 at Sparkman Park.

The No. 2 team in Class 6A was on the road for the third consecutive day after traveling to Brewer Thursday, finishing up 6A, Area 14 play by an 8-0, 10-0 sweep at Brewer. On Friday, the Bearcats were at Huntsville and came home a 7-3 winner.

But Cullman was unable to get runs in when they had two runners on in the first and the bases loaded in the fourth. The 'Cats managed just one run in that span.

Hartselle finally got a single off Owen Lovell to lead off the third. That was followed by an error on a pickoff move then a walk, a sacrifice bunt and a grounder to second to score a run and take a 1-0 lead.

Cullman woke up in the fourth against Hartselle's Garrett Wade. Carter Bowen led off with a double to center and scampered home on a single from Trent Price. The 'Cats had the bases loaded after Carson Freeman and Noah Fondren were hit by a pitch. But Wade struck out Levi Thomas to end the inning, tied 1-1.

Hartselle didn't waste the time of moving back on top in the Tigers' half of the fourth. Austin Parker drove the ball down the left field line off Lovell for a home run and the Tigers led 2-1. Lovell had allowed only three hits by the Tigers on 45 pitches through four innings.

Wade bounced back by striking out the side in the Cullman fifth. At that time, Wade had fanned 10 Bearcat batters.

Lovell gave up a run in the Hartselle fifth and was relieved by Michael Myers. The Tigers upped their lead to 3-1, looking to get more on the scoreboard. Lovell was on the mound for the Bearcats for the first time since facing Archbishop School in the USA Baseball Classic in Cary, North Carolina April 1.

Myers gave up a single in the Hartselle sixth, but also walked two batters and threw a wild pitch that allowed a run to score and extend the Tigers' lead to 4-1.

Fondren came in to relieve Myers, keeping the Tigers from breaking the game open.

Cullman started the seventh with a double by Fondren, then Wade got Thomas on a grounder to third, struck out Lovell and pinch hitter Weston Norton grounding out to Wade on the mound. Wade allowed five hits and struck out 12 batters. The Bearcats fall to 28-7 on the season, losing to an opponent from the Alabama High School Athletic Association for the first time since Feb. 25 when they were defeated by Buckhorn 1-0. 

Five of the seven Bearcat losses are to teams outside the state of Alabama. Hartselle is 23-18 on the season. The Tigers head to Russellville Tuesday before they begin the opening round of the state playoffs next weekend at an opponent to be announced.

Cullman ends the regular season Monday at Sparkman. The Bearcats have McAdory coming to Bill Shelton Field for the first round of the 6A playoffs. The series begins Friday at 5 & 7 p.m. with an if needed game to be at 2 p.m. Saturday.




Cullman softball falls in final of Mortimer Jordan bracket
MORRIS – Cullman softball had a good weekend in the North-South Challenge. Playing in the Mortimer Jordan bracket, the Lady Bearcats finished pool play Friday a 2-0-1 record.

In the finale on Friday, Cullman romped past Mortimer Jordan 8-0 that gave the Lady Bearcats the No. 1 seed when the event went to a tournament format on Saturday.

Cullman tied Pisgah 5-5, blanked Pinson Valley then completed the schedule with a shutout of No. 3 Mortimer Jordan from Class 5A, going to Saturday with a lot of momentum.

Pinson Valley tried to take the momentum away in an elimination round game to start Saturday's schedule. Cullman was down 2-0 in the fourth when the Lady Bearcats loaded the bases, then got them cleared on a grand slam from Meredith McPherson.

That was enough for Cullman to hold on for a 4-2 victory and move into the finals of the bracket with Mortimer Jordan. Mortimer Jordan sent Pisgah out of the tournament after Cullman's win over Pinson Valley.

Mortimer Jordan this time clamped down on Cullman's hitting and produced a 2-0 win to advance to the semifinal round, facing the winner of the Gardendale bracket Saturday afternoon.

In the Friday win over Mortimer Jordan, Olivia Schwaiger threw a two-hitter and her second shutout of the day. Schwaiger allowed no runs on two hits and struck out five. For the day, Schwaiger gave up six hits and retired nine via strikeout. 

Sierra Easterwood pitched well in the game against Pisgah, allowing five runs on five hits.

Cullman capped off a good week on the diamond, with a 5-1-1 record, clinching the regular season title in 6A, Area 14.

After taking off to celebrate Easter Sunday, Stephanie Conner's Lady Bearcats get back to playing with a game Monday at Oakman and on the road Tuesday to face Albertville.