HUEYTOWN, Ala. – After sweeping the Golden Gophers on their home field with a 13-11 win in game one and a 2-0 win in game two, the Cullman Bearcats are headed back to Montgomery for the fifth time in six years. The ‘Cats trailed Hueytown 8-5 going into the final frame of game one but plated eight runs in the top of the seventh to rally and take a 1-0 lead in the series and in game two, Dylon Wallace pitched seven shutout innings to lead the Bearcats to a road sweep and back to the state finals.
Cullman 13 – Hueytown 11 (Game One)
Cullman took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first with an RBI single from Ben Hollis, but the Gophers had an answer in their half of the inning. After tying the game on an RBI single, A bases-clearing double put Hueytown on top 4-1 early. The Bearcats began to chip away at the lead after a pair of scoreless innings.
Dylon Wallace scored on a fielder’s choice to make it 4-2 and a sacrifice bunt from A.J. Miller allowed Brady Patterson to cross the plate and trim the lead to 4-3 in the top of the fourth. An RBI single put the Gophers back up 5-3 in the bottom half of the fourth, but the Bearcats weren’t nearly done scoring yet. Cooper Beck scored on a fielder’s choice to make it a 1-run game and an RBI single from Wallace tied the game at 5.
The game remained tied until the bottom of the sixth when a Hueytown batter was hit with the bases loaded to make it a 6-5 game and just a couple of pitches later, a 2-run single put the Gophers on top 8-5 with just three outs remaining for Cullman.
A single and an error put two runners on the bases for Patterson in the top of the seventh and he drove a line drive over the left fielder’s head to score both of them and cut the lead to 8-7. After a pair of walks, the Hueytown pitcher mishandled a bunt from Niklas Fondren, allowing Patterson to score and tie the game at 8. Three pitches later, Beck singled into right field to score two more runs and put the ‘Cats up 10-8 with just one out in the inning. A sacrifice fly from Peyton Colvard brought in another run to make it 11-8 and Hollis capped off the big inning with a 2-run single into left field that put Cullman up 13-8 going into the bottom of the seventh.
The Gophers managed to make some noise in the final frame and plated three runs to cut the lead to 13-11 but a double play ended the game for Hueytown and lifted the Bearcats to a 13-11 victory in the opening game of the series. Hollis finished 3-for-5 at the plate with a game-high four RBIs while Brennen Norton racked up three hits of his own. Beck (two hits) and Patterson (two hits) each drove in a pair of runs for Cullman in the win.
Cullman 2 – Hueytown 0 (Game Two)
After the shootout between the Bearcats and Golden Gophers in game one, both teams lined up for a pitcher’s duel in game two. Dylon Wallace got the start on the hill for Cullman and put together a dominant performance to help lead the Bearcats back to the state finals. Wallace tossed a complete game shutout in game two, allowing just three hits in the win and striking out seven.
The ‘Cats finally broke the tie in the bottom of the sixth when Cooper Beck doubled to lead off the inning and two pitches later, Brennen Norton doubled to bring him around for a score and a 1-0 lead. After the Gophers collected the first two outs of the inning, Norton came home to score on a passed ball and make it a 2-0 game with just three outs between the Bearcats and the sweep. The ‘Cats were held to just five hits in the win, three of which came off the bat of Beck. Norton (one RBI) and Brady Patterson collected the other two hits in game two.
Cullman will be at Paterson Field in Montgomery next Thursday at 7:00 p.m. for game one of this year’s AHSAA 6A State Championship series against the Chelsea Hornets.
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