PREP SOFTBALL: No. 2 Hartselle pulls away to top Cullman 8-2

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Cullman fell to No. 2 Hartselle at home 8-2 Thursday night. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Bearcats returned home to battle the second-ranked Hartselle Tigers Thursday night and after taking an early lead, the Tigers were able to plate three runs in the fourth and three more in the fifth to pull away and take an 8-2 win over Cullman.

Hartselle took a 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly in the top of the first, but the Bearcats got the run back in the bottom half of the second. Carlie Burnham drew a walk to lead things off and Olivia Britton smoked a single up the middle to put runners on the corners. Brooklyn Morton then grounded into a fielder’s choice, allowing Burnham to score from third and tie the game at 1 going into the third inning.

The Tigers led off the top of the third with a single, but a 6-3-5 double play helped get Cullman out of the inning with the score still knotted at 1. Abby Maples and Haley Shannon drew walks to give the ‘Cats a pair of runners and Maples crossed the plate on an error later in the inning to put Cullman in front 2-1 headed into the fourth. However, Hartselle responded in the top of the fourth, scoring a pair of runs on an error to retake a 3-2 lead and scoring on a passed ball to make it 4-2.

The Tigers strung some hits together and added to their lead in the top of the fifth, taking a 7-2 lead into the bottom half of the inning. Hartselle pushed one more run across the plate on a fielder’s choice in the sixth and the Bearcats weren’t able to climb back and erase the deficit, falling to the Tigers 8-2.

Morton got the start for Cullman and tossed five innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on seven hits and striking out a pair of batters. Shannon and Faith Guest each posted a pair of hits in the loss and Britton and Davis each finished with a hit as well. Morton added an RBI for the Bearcats.

Cullman will host its annual Pre-State Blowout Tournament Friday and Saturday.

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