6 IN A ROW: West Point tops Fairview 9-3 to claim 6th consecutive county championship

The West Point Warriors defeated Fairview 9-3 Tuesday night to win their sixth consecutive county championship. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

FAIRVIEW, Ala. – West Point and Fairview clashed in this year’s Cullman County Tournament Championship Game at Mark Moore Field Tuesday night and for the sixth consecutive season, the Warriors are county champs. J.D. Cochran tossed a complete game on the mound, allowing just one earned run on six hits and striking out three batters in a 9-3 win over the Aggies. Cochran added three hits and an RBI at the plate as well, earning Tournament MVP honors with his performance. West Point Head Coach Drew Bryson has seen Cochran develop into a reliable player over the course of his varsity career and wasn’t surprised to see him step up in a big moment Tuesday night.

“That’s typical J.D. Cochran right there. He’s been like that for us more times than not and he’s not perfect and may not be that great all the time but more times than not he’s a dude that’s going to throw strikes and fill up the zone and give you a chance,” Bryson said. “In his career now I think he’s undefeated against Fairview so that’s a great way for him to go out as a senior that’s been playing for us for four years. To go out there and do that on the mound in your last outing in the maroon and white was good to see.”

Cade Welborn scored on an error to give the Warriors a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning and they added to their lead in the second. Gus McKenney and Hunter Graves drew walks to get on base and after Deacon Stutchman laid down a bunt, an error allowed McKenney to score and stretch the lead to 2-0. After stealing third base, Graves scored on a Fairview balk to make it a 3-0 game and Cochran drove in another run with an RBI single later in the inning. Boston Freeman scored on a passed ball two pitches later to give West Point a 5-0 lead and Jay Lamar sent an RBI single into right field to make it 6-0. Brayden Eaton scored on an error a few pitches later and the Warriors went into the third leading Fairview 7-0.

The Aggies strung together hits from Connor Scott, Isaac Elrod and Barrett York to cut the lead to 7-1 in the top of the third, but West Point responded in the bottom half of the fourth. Singles from Cochran and Lamar gave the Warriors a pair of runners and Eaton crossed the plate on a passed ball a few pitches later to make it an 8-1 game. McKenney drove an RBI double into right-center field to put West Point in front 9-1 going into the fifth.

After a scoreless fifth and sixth inning, the Aggies got a pair of runs on the board in the top of the seventh when Kolt Redding scored on a passed ball and Ben Bryan scored on a Scott RBI groundout but Cochran struck out the next batter to cap a 9-3, championship win for the Warriors.

Lamar posted two hits and an RBI in the win and McKenney (one RBI) and Cade Welborn added hits as well. York (one RBI), Scott (one RBI), Elrod, Bryceson Turner, Gannon Black and Camden Cullen each recorded hits for Fairview.

Defending the county title is something that means a lot to Bryson and his team so he was proud to see them finish the season strong with another addition to the trophy case.

“It’s something we definitely don’t take for granted, especially this year. It’s been one of those years where we were super young and had a lot of inexperience, but we still had some guys like J.D. (Cochran) and Gus (McKenney) that have been starting for us for three of four years now,” Bryson said. “We got off to a great start this season and then we hit a two or three week lull where we played very inconsistent and you also throw in that you’re in a rough area with Russellville and Lawrence County which are both quality teams. We couldn’t get our business done there but its good to come out here and play well to finish the year off.”

Cullman County Baseball Coaches Association Scholarship Winner

Jake Cornelius, Hanceville

2024 All-County Tournament Team

J.D. Cochran, West Point (MVP)

Boston Freeman, West Point

Jay Lamar, West Point

Barrett York, Fairview

Gannon Black, Fairview

Caden Drake, Good Hope

Carter Rutherford, Good Hope

Josh Winfrey, Cold Springs

Cole Bales, Cold Springs

Nelson Arteaga, Hanceville

Kollin Brown, Holly Pond

Will Hathaway, Vinemont

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