COUNTY BASEBALL TOURNAMENT: Eagles, Raiders, Aggies advance on day 1

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Cold Springs edged Vinemont 11-9 in extra innings Monday to advance to the county tournament semifinals. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

FAIRVIEW, Ala. – This year’s Cullman County Baseball Tournament is underway at Fairview High School’s Mark Moore Field and three teams secured spots in the semifinals Monday night. Cold Springs edged Vinemont in extra innings 11-9, Good Hope handled Hanceville 12-2 and Fairview advanced with a 12-2 win over Holly Pond.

Cold Springs 11 – Vinemont 9 (Eight Innings)

After a scoreless first inning, Cold Springs got on the scoreboard first in the top of the second. A pair of singles put runners on the corners with two outs, then after a stolen base, Boston Archer lined a two-run single to center field to give them a 2-0 lead. Archer later scored on an error to make it 3-0, but Vinemont countered in their half. The first two batters reached bases via a hit by pitch, then with two outs, Jaxon Holcomb and Owen McKinney each scored on an error to cut it to 3-2.

The score remained the same until the fifth inning. Vinemont loaded the bases to lead off the fifth, and RBI singles by Rush Sandlin and McKinney gave them a 4-3 lead. Jordan Eller scored on an error to make it 5-3. Vinemont pushed their lead to 6-3 in the sixth on an RBI groundout by Eller, but Cold Springs reclaimed the lead in the top of the seventh. They loaded the bases with no outs, and Josh Winfrey hit a 2-2 pitch over the center field fence for a grand slam to give them a 7-6 lead. Later that inning, Ethan Nabors added an RBI single with two outs to make it 8-6. 

Vinemont answered right back in their half. Rylan McRae hit a leadoff single and later stole second and third with two outs. Kayden Henderson hit an RBI single to trim it to just a one-run game. Later that inning, Henderson stole home to tie the game up at eight and ended up sending the game into extra innings. Cold Springs jumped out to a quick lead in the eighth inning. They quickly loaded the bases with nobody out, then Cole Bales scored on a fielder’s choice to give them a 9-8 lead. Matt Williams added a two-run double to stretch their lead to 11-8. Holcomb scored on a passed ball to cut it to 11-9 in the bottom of the eighth, but Bales got the final out on a groundout, and Cold Springs advanced to the second round with an 11-9 win over Vinemont.

Winfrey led the way for Cold Springs (10-14) with a pair of hits and four RBIs. Williams (three hits) and Archer (one hit) each added a pair of RBIs, while Nabors (two hits) and Lindan Hill (one hit) each collected an RBI in the win. For Vinemont (17-6), Henderson and Sandlin each finished with a pair of hits and an RBI. McKinney and McRae each added a hit and an RBI, while Eller drove in a run of his own in the loss.

Cold Springs will face top-seeded West Point in the semifinals Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.

Good Hope 12 – Hanceville 2 (Five Innings)

Hanceville struck first in the bottom of the first inning. Jake Cornelius hit a leadoff single and came around to score on an error to give the Bulldogs the early lead. Good Hope’s offense exploded in the top of the second, as they ended up sending 15 batters to the plate.  RBI singles by Owen Armstrong and Carter Naramore, a bases-loaded walk, an error, a two-run single by Caden Drake, an RBI double by Dakota Overton, and an RBI single off the bat of Armstrong gave them a 9-1 lead.

The Raiders added to their lead in the fourth. Black drove in a run on a ground ball, Colbi Kilpatrick added an RBI single and later scored on a wild pitch to increase their lead to 12-1. Hanceville put up a run in the bottom of the fifth on a solo home run by Nelson Arteaga, but Drake induced a popout on the first pitch to end the game, as Good Hope punched a ticket to the semifinals with a 12-2 win over the Bulldogs.

Drake and Armstrong each finished with a pair of hits and two RBIs for Good Hope (12-11). Rutherford, Kilpatrick, Overton, and Naramore each posted a hit and an RBI, while Black collected an RBI in the win. Drake gave up just two hits and one earned run, walked two, and struck out six in his five innings of work. For Hanceville (14-8), Arteaga finished with the solo home run, while Cornelius added a hit and scored a run in the loss.

Good Hope will take on Fairview in the semifinals Tuesday at 2 p.m.

Fairview 12 – Holly Pond 2 (Five innings)

Holly Pond took the early 1-0 lead in its opening at-bats on an RBI single off the bat of Kollin Brown. Fairview answered right back in their half. Nicolas Gregory hit a leadoff single and scored on an RBI single by Isaac Elrod to tie the game up at one. Barett York followed that up with an RBI double, and Gannon Black added an RBI single later that inning to give the Aggies a 3-1 lead. Fairview made it 6-1 in the bottom of the second on RBI singles from Conner Scott and Elrod and a fielder’s choice by Bryceson Turner.

The Broncos trimmed it to four at 6-2 in the top of the third on an RBI single by Brown, but Fairview countered in their half. They loaded the bases to start out the inning, then a hit by pitch, a walk, and a groundout pushed their lead to 9-2. The Aggies quickly ended things in the fifth. After loading the bases, a bases-loaded walk brought home a run. Black hit a two-run double to give the Aggies the 12-2 win over the Broncos, as they clinch a spot in the semifinals.

Elrod finished with three hits and three RBIs for Fairview (20-10-1). Black added a pair of hits and three RBIs. Scott (two hits) and Turner both ended up with a pair of RBIs, while Gregory and York each posted a hit and an RBI in the win. The trio of Gregory, Ben Bryan, and Tanner Isbell combined to give up just four hits and two earned runs, walked two, and struck out seven. For Holly Pond (6-18), Brown led the way with a pair of hits and two RBIs, while Sawyer Olinger and Peyton Queen each posted a hit in the loss.

Fairview will face Good Hope in the semifinals Tuesday at 2 p.m.

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