PREP BASEBALL: ‘Cats fall to No. 1 Hartselle 13-3

Cullman fell to No. 1 Hartselle at home 13-3 Tuesday. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Bearcats were back home at Bill Shelton Field Tuesday night for a big area matchup with the top-ranked Hartselle Tigers. Cullman plated two runs in the fifth and another one in the sixth to get on the board but couldn’t overcome the early Hartselle lead and the Tigers held on to win it 13-3.

Riley Jackson led off the bottom of the first with a single into right field, but three strikeouts left him stranded at third base. After a scoreless second inning, the Tigers pulled ahead in the top of the third. A pair of RBI singles put Hartselle in front 3-0 going into the bottom half of the inning. The Bearcats went three-up, three-down in their half of the third and the Tigers stretched their lead to 5-0 with a 2-run homerun in the top of the fourth.

Cullman was able to chip away in the bottom of the fifth. A double off the bat of Tucker Cagle and a single by Zane Watwood gave the ‘Cats a pair of runners and Jake Dueland drew a walk to load the bases. Jackson lifted a sacrifice fly into center field to score Cagle and cut the lead to 5-1 and Watwood scored on a wild pitch to make it a 5-2 game going into the sixth.

However, the Tigers responded in the top half of the sixth, knocking two more homeruns over the wall in left field and building a 12-2 lead. Easton Peed led off the top of the sixth with a double to left-center field and Cole Robertson singled to right to give Cullman a pair of base runners. Peed scored on a wild pitch later in the inning to trim the lead to 12-3 but that was the only run the Bearcats could push across the plate. Hartselle tacked on one more run in the top of the seventh and went on to defeat Cullman 13-3 and take a 1-0 lead in the series.

Jackson (one RBI), Peed, Robertson, Watwood, Dueland and Cagle each posted a hit in the loss.

The ‘Cats will head to Hartselle Thursday, looking to bounce back against the Tigers and win another area title.

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