Bearcat Peyton Colvard (2) with Coach Brent Patterson (Nick Griffin for The Tribune)
HOMEWOOD – The Cullman Bearcats swept Homewood on the road Friday night behind strong performances on the mound from both starters, punching their ticket to the AHSAA 6A State Baseball Playoffs Final 4.
Game one: Cullman 8, Homewood 1
Michael Myers got the start for the ‘Cats in Game one and tossed all seven innings, allowing one run on five hits and collecting four strikeouts. Weston Norton gave Myers and the Bearcats an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first with a solo homerun over the left-field wall.
Homewood tied the game up at one in the bottom of the second on a bunt single RBI, but the Patriots weren’t able to score again as Myers and the Cullman defense settled in for the remainder of the game.
The Bearcats took control in the top of the third, starting with an RBI single from Will Morrison to take back the lead 2-1. Grayson Taylor got hit with the bases loaded bringing in a third run and setting up Brennan Norton for a double into left-center that brought three runners across the plate and gave Cullman a 6-1 lead.
The ‘Cats scored again in the top of the fifth on a passed ball to go up 7-1 and again in the top of the seventh on a throwing error to wrap up game one with an 8-1 win.
Game two: Cullman 6, Homewood 1
Morrison got the start on the hill for game two and just like in game one, the Patriots could not come up with enough offense to threaten the Bearcats down the stretch.
Taylor gave Cullman a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first with a two-RBI triple and a throwing error into the dugout that brought Taylor in from third. Taylor wasn’t done after his triple. In the third, he extended the Bearcats’ lead with a two-run shot over the left-field wall to go up 5-0. Taylor finished the night 2-for-3 with a triple, a homerun and four RBIs.
Homewood managed to push one across in the fourth on a passed ball, but it wasn’t enough to create any momentum for the Patriots’ bats against Morrison. Cooper Beck added to the lead with a solo homerun in the bottom of the fourth to make it 6-1 and help Morrison and the defense cruise through the last three innings. Morrison went the distance for the ‘Cats in game two, throwing all seven innings, allowing one run on three hits and racking up 10 strikeouts.
Bearcats Head Coach Brent Patterson was happy with the way his starters performed Friday night despite some early adversity.
“Mike (Myers) actually struggled a little early with command and with all the emotions and adrenaline of the first three or four innings, but he competed, and he mixed enough and made enough pitches and he let his defense play and they made some plays,” Patterson said. “Then after that when he settled down and really found it, he got into a rhythm and we were able to really get going and that helped us offensively, too. We kind of saw in the first inning that Will (Morrison) looked very, very good. He had a lot of movement and a lot of command. He’s just very different so we felt good about him after the first because it was real obvious.”
Patterson continued, “We got some big hits with runners on from Grayson (Taylor) and Brennan (Norton) and we got some big hits that were so, so clutch out of those guys to allow a little bit of breathing room,” he said. “It’s just hard man, in the playoffs it means a lot to everybody. There’s so much intensity in every moment that if you leave a few runners it can really change momentum, so those hits were huge.”
Cullman will host Hazel Green next Friday night at home at Bill Shelton Field for a chance to go back to Montgomery.
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