PREP BASEBALL: West Point, Cullman down Lawrence County, Muscle Shoals to earn area series wins

West Point’s Caiden Rodgers pitched a complete game one-hitter in the Warriors’ 5-0 win over Lawrence County Thursday. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

WEST POINT, Ala. – After defeating Lawrence County on the road 7-1 earlier this week, the West Point Warriors returned home to finish the area series Thursday night. Caiden Rodgers led the way on the mound, tossing a complete game one-hitter and guiding the Warriors to a 5-0 win over the Red Devils to secure the area series win. Rodgers shut out Lawrence County and allowed just one hit to go with seven strikeouts.

Meanwhile in Muscle Shoals, the Bearcats were wrapping up their area series with the Trojans. Kaleb Heatherly walked it off in the eighth inning to give the ‘Cats a 2-1 win on Tuesday but they took care of business with a little less drama Thursday night. Cullman plated three runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth to pull away from Muscle Shoals and pick up a 9-3 area win, securing the series for the Bearcats. Heatherly earned the win on the mound Thursday night, pitching all seven innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on five hits and striking out seven.

Both West Point and Cullman will play another game with Lawrence County and Muscle Shoals tonight, but both the Warriors and Bearcats have already taken their respective area series.

West Point 5 – Lawrence County 0 (Baseball)

West Point put some runs on the board in the first two innings to claim the early lead. Andrew Putman scored on an error to put the Warriors up 1-0 in the bottom of the first just before Isaac Hoffpauir drove a double deep into right field. Brody Freeman then ripped an RBI single into left field to bring Hoffpauir across the plate and make it a 2-0 game going into the second.

In the bottom of the second, another RBI double off the bat of Hoffpauir, this time to deep left field, scored Putman to stretch the lead to 3-0 and two pitches later, Colton McCoy punched an RBI single into left to score Hoffpauir and make it 4-0. West Point added another run to its lead when Aidan Maddox scored from third, putting the Warriors ahead 5-0 after two innings.

The Red Devils led off the top of the sixth with a single but that was the only hit they recorded in the game and West Point cruised to collect a 5-0 area win.

Hoffpauir finished 3-for-4 at the plate with an RBI in the win. Rodgers posted two hits and Freeman (one RBI) and McCoy (one RBI) each added a hit for the Warriors as well.

Cullman 9 – Muscle Shoals 3 (Baseball)

An RBI groundout from Riley Jackson allowed Hayden Stancil to score in the top of the first and put Cullman in front 1-0 early. A solo homerun by the Trojans tied things up at 1 in the bottom half of the first but the ‘Cats responded in the top of the second. Will Bradberry answered with a 2-run bomb of his own to put the Bearcats back on top 3-1 going into the third inning.

Cullman was kept off the board in the third and fourth but in the bottom of the fourth, Muscle Shoals pushed one run across the plate to cut the lead to 3-2. That’s when the Bearcat bats started to get hot. Back to back RBI singles from Heatherly and Tucker Cagle made it a 5-2 game and an error allowed another run to score and extend the lead to 6-2 going into the sixth.

Stancil added another run to the lead with an RBI double in the top of the sixth and another RBI single off the bat of Heatherly gave Cullman an 8-2 advantage going into the bottom half of the inning. Bradberry’s big day wasn’t over, and he led off the top of the seventh with another homerun over the wall in center field to make it a 9-2 game.

The Trojans managed to chip away a bit of the lead in the final frame, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the early lead and the Bearcats secured a series win over Muscle Shoals with a 9-3 win.

Bradberry finished the game 3-for-4 with three RBIs and Heatherly (two RBIs) posted three hits in the win as well. Stancil (one hit) and Cagle (one hit) each drove in a run for Cullman as well.

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