PREP BASEBALL: ‘Cats split senior night matchups with Bob Jones, Golden

Cullman’s Elijah Hayes posted three hits and a pair of RBIs in the Bearcats’ games against Bob Jones and Golden Friday night. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – After completing the area sweep of Decatur on the road Thursday night, the ‘Cats returned home to Bill Shelton Field Friday night to host a senior night doubleheader. Cullman got things started with a matchup against Bob Jones and before the game with the Golden Demons of Colorado, this year’s senior class was honored in front of the home crowd for all their contributions to Bearcat baseball program. This year’s senior class includes Riley Jackson, Cody Jones, Patton Elkins, Elijah Hayes, Brody Foxx, Garrett Hall, Easton Peed, John Weston Ray, Tucker Cagle, Paxton Ponder, Grayson Wright, Zane Watwood, Hunter Howell, Kaden Burgess and Cole Floyd.

The Bearcats dropped game one to Bob Jones 11-4 but bounced back to take game two over Golden 10-3.

Bob Jones 11 – Cullman 4 (Game One)

The Patriots came out swinging in the first game of Friday’s doubleheader, taking a 4-0 lead in the top of the first with a pair of home runs. An RBI single stretched Bob Jones’ lead to 5-0 in the top of the second and the Patriots tacked on another run in the third to make it a 6-0 game.

Bob Jones threatened to score again in the top half of the fourth but the ‘Cats rolled a 4-6-3 double play to get out of the jam. The Patriots plated three more runs in the fifth to extend the lead to 9-0 and after scoring another run in the sixth, they led the Bearcats 10-0 going into the bottom of the sixth. However, Cullman was finally able to get some runs on the board in the bottom half of the sixth. Garrett Hall drew a walk to put a runner at first and later in the inning, Paxton Ponder knocked a 2-run bomb over the center field wall to trim the lead to 10-2.

Bob Jones got one of the runs back in the top of the seventh to make it an 11-2 game but the Bearcats did some more damage at the plate in the final frame. Elijah Hayes singled up the middle and Zane Watwood drew a walk to put a pair of runners on the bases for Hunter Howell. A few pitches later, Howell laced a 2-run single into right field to cut the lead to seven but that was all the offense the ‘Cats could come up with and the Patriots held on to win it 11-4.

Ponder (HR) and Howell (one hit) each posted a pair of RBIs in the loss.

Cullman 10 – Golden 3 (Game Two)

A 2-run homer gave the Demons a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning, but the Bearcats responded in the bottom half of the second. After reaching base with a walk, Cole Floyd scored on an error later in the inning to trim the lead to 2-1. One pitch later, another error allowed Elijah Hayes to score and tie the game at 2 and just one pitch after that, Hunter Howell blasted a 2-run home run over the right field wall to give Cullman a 4-2 lead going into the third inning.

A solo home run from the Demons cut the lead to 4-3 in the top of the fourth but Easton Peed scored on an error in the bottom of the fourth to get the run back and keep the ‘Cats in front 5-3. Paxton Ponder and Riley Jackson led off the bottom of the fifth with single and a double to give Cullman a pair of runners and Ponder scored on an error later in the inning to make it a 6-3 game. Three pitches later, Hayes drove a 2-run double into left field to plate Jackson and Floyd and stretch the lead to 8-3. A sacrifice fly from Tucker Cagle allowed Garrett Hall to score and make it a 9-3 game going into the sixth inning.

Ponder led off the bottom of the sixth with a triple and a Jackson brought him home to score with a sacrifice fly into center field and Cullman went into the seventh holding on to a 10-3 lead. The Bearcats collected the final three outs in the top of the seventh and wrapped up senior night with a 10-3 win over the Demons.

Cooper Loftin went the distance on the mound and earned the win for the Bearcats, allowing three runs on seven hits and striking out six. Hayes (two RBIs) and Ponder each finished with a pair of hits in the win and Howell (HR) posted a pair of RBIs.

The ‘Cats will be back on the road Saturday for a pair of games against Haleyville and Hazel Green.

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