PREP BASEBALL PLAYOFFS: Bearcats advance after sweeping Albertville, Fairview and Cold Springs fall on the road

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Brennen Norton (8) and Braxton Jones (3) celebrate after Cullman's 4-3 win in game one against Albertville Saturday. (Nick Griffin for The Cullman Tribune)

ALBERTVILLE, Ala. – For the 18th straight season, the Cullman Bearcats are headed to round two of the AHSAA state baseball playoffs after sweeping the Albertville Aggies on Saturday. The ‘Cats took game one 4-3 and put the series away with a 6-1 win in game two to advance past the Aggies.

Cullman head coach Brent Patterson was proud of the way his guys fought to win game one against a solid Albertville squad and has seen Brennen Norton grow into a big role on the mound throughout the season.

“In the playoffs this is important to everybody. Those kids are fighters, they’re battlers and they’re super competitive so they put a great first inning together and they hit some pitches. So, for us to respond, Braxton (Jones) settled down and responded to give us some time to get back out there and get a couple of runs,” Patterson said. “When they mounted another threat, it was big to have Brennen come in because he’s getting more experience in that role and he loves that situation and we love to go to him.”

Peyton Colvard was nearly untouchable in game two and Patterson was very pleased with how his starter looked Saturday against the Aggies. Colvard’s no-hit bid was broken up in the bottom of the seventh but he still kept Albertville at a safe distance the whole way.

“I thought he was phenomenal, and the thing about Peyton is that he has such a good feel for pitching. He calls his own pitches and he’s got a great feel and he can read hitter’s swings and he can change speeds with the same pitch. He’s just a really good high school pitcher,” Patterson said. “Usually we play pretty well defensively when he’s on the mound because he’s throwing so many strikes, the game moves fast, and Peyton’s just been consistent. He’s been huge for us and offensively I was really proud of our at bats again. When you have good at bats, play good defense, throw a lot of strikes and change speeds, you’ve got a chance and that’s what we want.”

Peyton Colvard (2) allowed one run on just two hits in Cullman’s 6-1 win over Albertville Saturday. (Nick Griffin for The Cullman Tribune)

Cullman 4 – Albertville 3 (game one)

Cullman took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first after Brady Patterson was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and an RBI single from Ben Hollis made it a 2-0 game just one pitch later. Albertville was able to tie the game with back to back RBI singles in the top of the second, but the Bearcats went back ahead for good in the bottom of the fourth.

 An RBI single from Brennen Norton put Cullman on top 3-2 and Cooper Beck tagged up to score on a sacrifice fly from Peyton Colvard and stretch the lead to 4-2. The Aggies scored on a fielder’s choice in the top of the sixth to cut it to a 4-3 game, but Norton picked up the final four outs on the mound to seal the game one win for Cullman.

Norton (one RBI) and Beck each led the way with two hits and Colvard, Brady Patterson (one hit) and Ben Hollis (one hit) each drove in a run for the Bearcats.

Cullman 6 – Albertville 1 (game two)

The ‘Cats took an early lead in the second game just like they did in the first. Cooper Beck scored on an error in the top of the first and after a scoreless second inning, Cullman began creating some separation.

An RBI single from Beck made it a 2-0 game and a 2-run double off the wall in center field from Peyton Colvard stretched the early lead to 4-0. Colvard got the start on the mound for the Bearcats in game two and made quick work of the Aggies’ lineup for most of the day.

Cullman got back on the board in the top of the fifth with an RBI single from Brady Patterson that made it 5-0 and Patterson came around to score on an error just a few pitches later to extend the lead to 6-0.

Colvard had a no-hitter intact until the bottom of the seventh when Albertville singled and drove a run in with an RBI double but it was too little too late for the Aggies and the ‘Cats held on to win it 6-1 and punch their ticket to round two.

Colvard allowed just two hits in the win and collected five strikeouts. Beck (one RBI), Niklas Fondren and Colvard each finished with two hits for Cullman and Colvard led the way with two RBIs.

The Bearcats will take on Pell City in the second round. A location and time for the games has not yet been determined.

Sulligent 3 – Cold Springs 2 (game one)

Cold Springs fell in a heartbreaker in Saturday’s first playoff matchup against Sulligent after a walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh sealed a 3-2 loss for the Eagles.

After three scoreless innings, Sulligent took a 1-0 lead with an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth. Cold Springs came up with an answer in the top of the sixth when Logan Rice drove in Jake Abbott to tie the game and Lawson Burgess scored on a fielder’s choice to give the Eagles a 2-1 lead.

Sulligent scored on an error to tie the game at 2 in the bottom of the sixth and a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the seventh lifted Sulligent to a 3-2 win in game one and a 1-0 lead in the series.

Rice (one RBI) finished 3-for-3 in the loss, Ayden Alexander and Abbott each collected a pair of hits for the Eagles and Dylan Gable drove in a run as well.

Sulligent 13 – Cold Springs 0 (game two)

The season came to an end for the Eagles on Saturday after dropping game two on the road against Sulligent 13-0. Cold Springs trailed 6-0 after four innings but Sulligent plated seven in the fifth to pull away and win it.

Brylan Aaron and Jake Abbott collected the only two hits of the game for Cold Springs.

Haleyville 4 – Fairview 3 (game one)

The Aggies jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, but Haleyville was able to plate four runs in the bottom of the fifth to pull in front of Fairview for good. An RBI single from Dalton Payne made it 1-0 and Parker Martin scored on an error to put the Aggies up 2-0.

After four scoreless innings, Fairview stretched its lead to 3-0 in the top of the fifth with a sacrifice fly from Payne, but the Lions tacked on four in the bottom half of the inning to take a 4-3 lead.

Haleyville 12 – Fairview 3 (game two)

After falling to Haleyville in a very tight game one, the Aggies couldn’t hold the Lions offense in check in game two and they pulled away to knock off Fairview and advance to the next round. Haleyville took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first and the Aggies had the lead down to 4-3 after five innings but seven runs from the Lions in the top of the sixth was too much for Fairview to overcome.

Parker Martin finished a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate for Fairview and Malcolm Parker and Riley Carroll collected the other two hits in the loss for the Aggies.

Southeastern 4 – Addison 1 (game one)

The Bulldogs trailed just 2-1 after 5 innings of Saturday’s first matchup against Southeastern but the Mustangs scored a pair of runs in the bottom half of the sixth to pull away from Addison and take game one.

Jesse Brock (one RBI) and Brett Smith recorded the only two hits for the Bulldogs in the loss.

Addison 2 – Southeastern 1 (game two)

Addison bounced back to take game two over the Mustangs in dramatic fashion Saturday night when Kendrick Smith singled to left in the bottom of the eighth to drive in Jesse Brock and tie the series. Luke Waldrep went seven and a third for the Bulldogs, allowing one run on just four hits and striking out six.

Brock (one hit) and Smith (one hit) each drove in a run for Addison in the win. The Bulldogs will be back on the field at Southeastern Monday for game three with everything on the line for both teams.

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