PREP BASEBALL PLAYOFFS: Bearcats fall in 6A semifinals at No. 1 Oxford

The Cullman Bearcats fell to No. 1 Oxford on the road Thursday night, ending their postseason run in the 6A semifinals. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

OXFORD, Ala. — Rain postponed the Class 6A semifinals matchup between Cullman and Oxford Wednesday night, but the Bearcats and the Jackets were able to get things underway Thursday. Unfortunately for the Cullman faithful that made the trip back, Oxford jumped out to an early lead in game one on its way to an 11-0 win and in game two, the Yellow Jackets held off a late rally from the Bearcats to take game two 5-3, ending Cullman’s season in round four.

Oxford 11 – Cullman 0 (Game One)

Riley Jackson knocked a double into left field to give the ‘Cats a runner in scoring position in the top of the first but a strikeout ended the inning and kept Cullman off the board. A 4-6-3 double play and a strikeout by Bearcats starter Easton Peed ended the bottom of the first but Oxford was able to get some runs on the board in the second. A bases-loaded walk, an error and three RBI singles allowed the Yellow Jackets to build a 6-0 lead after two innings and in the bottom of the third, a 2-run double put Oxford in front 8-0.

The Yellow Jackets tacked on three more runs in the fourth to make it an 11-0 game and Cullman was unable to respond in the top of the fifth, giving Oxford an 11-0 win in game one.

Jackson recorded the lone hit for the Bearcats in the loss.

Oxford 5 – Cullman 3 (Game Two)

An RBI double into right field gave the Yellow Jackets a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Paxton Ponder and Tucker Cagle each drew walks and Riley Jackson reached on an error to load up the bases in the bottom of the first, but a strikeout cut the scoring opportunity short. After a scoreless second inning, Oxford was able to add to its lead in the third, plating a pair of runs to stretch the lead to 3-0 going into the fourth.

An RBI single made it a 4-0 game in the top of the fourth, but the Bearcats responded in the bottom half of the inning. Hunter Howell led things off with a single and Easton Peed drew a walk to give the ‘Cats a pair of runners. Cole Floyd laid down a sacrifice bunt to move them over and Cody Jones ripped an RBI single into left field to drive in Howell and cut the lead to 4-1. Jackson drew a walk to keep the inning going and Peed scored on a wild pitch a few pitches later to make it a 4-2 game going into the fifth.

Zane Watwood kept the rally going in the bottom of the fifth when he smoked a solo home run over the left field fence to trim the lead to 4-3. The Yellow Jackets got one of the runs back in the top of the sixth with a sacrifice fly, making it a 5-3 game going into the final frame. Down to their last out, the Bearcats were able to get a pair of runners on base in the bottom of the seventh but couldn’t bring them around to score and Oxford held on to win game two 5-3.

Jones (one RBI) led Cullman with a pair of hits in the loss and Watwood (HR), Howell and Floyd each posted hits as well.

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