COUNTY BASEBALL TOURNAMENT: Vinemont, Hanceville, Fairview earn day 1 wins

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Hanceville’s Drew Campbell tossed five hitless innings in the Bulldogs’ 11-1 win over Good Hope Friday. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

WEST POINT, Ala. – This year’s Cullman County Baseball Tournament is underway, and we had three games at West Point High School on day one to set up the remainder of the bracket. Hanceville put down Good Hope 11-1 in game one to advance to Saturday and Vinemont defeated Cold Springs to punch its ticket to day two. In Friday’s nightcap, Fairview raced past Holly Pond 18-3 to advance to the semifinals as well.

Day two of the County Tournament is set to start at 2 p.m. with a semifinal matchup between West Point and Hanceville but wet weather coming in overnight could affect start times.

Hanceville 11 – Good Hope 1 (Game One)

An RBI double off the bat of Drew Campbell gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead in the top of the first and after a scoreless second inning, Hanceville added to its lead in the third. Adam Cooper drove a single into right field to bring Gabriel Ognilla across the plate and Carson Garrett ripped a 2-run single into left field later in the inning to make it a 4-0 game.

Caden Drake scored on a passed ball to cut the lead to 4-1 in the bottom of the third, but the Raiders couldn’t get any closer than that. A fielder’s choice and a wild pitch allowed the Bulldogs to pull ahead 6-1 in the top of the fourth and later in the inning, a bases-loaded walk and a 2-run single from Damien McKinney stretched the lead to 9-1. Hanceville tacked on two more runs before the end of the inning and collected the final six outs in next two frames to wrap up an 11-1 win over Good Hope.

Campbell got the start on the mound and tossed five hitless innings for the Bulldogs, striking out six batters. Cooper (one RBI) finished with a pair of hits and Garrett (one hit) added a pair of RBIs. McKinney, Campbell and Jacob Cornelius each posted a hit and an RBI as well.

Hanceville will advance to take on West Point in the semifinals Saturday at 2 p.m.

Vinemont 4 – Cold Springs 2 (Game Two)

Cold Springs was able to take an early lead in the top of the first when a sacrifice fly by Seth Williams drove in a run and an error allowed another to cross the plate and make it a 2-0 game. Vinemont responded with a pair of hits in the bottom half of the inning but couldn’t get any runs on the board until the second when Jarrett Friedrich drove in Kix Johnson with a single to right field and trimmed the lead to 2-1.

An error by Cold Springs and a sacrifice bunt from Hayden Robinson pushed two more runs across the plate for Vinemont in the bottom of the third, putting them in front 3-2 going into the fourth.

After a scoreless fourth and fifth inning, Vinemont plated another run in the sixth with an RBI single from Kayden Henderson to make it a 4-2 game and retired the final three Cold Springs batters in the top of the seventh to secure a 4-2 win and spot in the semifinals Saturday.

Henderson finished with a pair of hits and an RBI in the win and Jacob Hale posted a pair of hits as well. Preston Williams earned the win on the mound, pitching 6.1 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on just three hits and striking out three.

Vinemont will be back on the field Saturday at 4 p.m. to face Fairview in the semifinals.

Fairview 18 – Holly Pond 3 (Game Three)

The Aggies scored early and often in Friday’s nightcap against Holly Pond and managed to put the Broncos away in five innings. Fairview loaded up the bases to start the bottom of the first and Dalton Payne cleared them with a triple into right field to put Fairview on top 3-0. RBI singles from Caden Jennings and Isaac Elrod extended the lead to 5-0 going into the second inning.

Holly Pond scored on a passed ball in the top of the second to cut the lead to 5-1 but the Aggies answered with an RBI single by Payne in the bottom half of the inning to build the lead back up to 6-1.

Fairview blew things open in the third, starting with another run on a passed ball and an RBI single from Lucas West that put the Aggies in front 8-1. After Fairview took a 9-1 lead, Payne’s monster performance continued with a 3-run bomb over the right field fence that made it a 12-1 game. The Aggies plated another run on a passed ball before the end of the inning and took a 13-1 advantage into the fourth.

Payne drew a walk with the bases loaded to make it a 14-1 game in the bottom of the fourth and an RBI double by Jennings stretched the lead to 16-1. Daniel Hostetler squared up a 2-run single to give Fairview an 18-1 lead going into the fifth. Holly Pond took advantage of an Aggies error to score a pair of runs in the top of the fifth, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the early lead and Fairview went on to win it 18-3.

Payne went 3-for-3 at the plate and racked up eight RBIs for the Aggies in the win. Jennings (two hits) drove in three runs for Fairview and Hostetler (one hit) added a pair of RBIs as well. Nicolas Gregory got the win on the mound, tossing all five innings, allowing three unearned runs on just two hits and striking out four batters.

Fairview will take on Vinemont in the semifinal round Saturday at 4 p.m.

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