Hartselle's Colton Ord begins the celebrate as the final out is made Saturday. | Photo courtesy Lew Gilliland/Fort Payne Times-Journal

Archived Story

Tigers take Game 3 to advance

Published 1:05pm Monday, April 23, 2012

Lew Gilliland
Fort Payne Times-Journal

FORT PAYNE — Hartselle liked the formula it used to claim a victory in Game 2 of its Class 5A opening-round high school baseball playoff series against Fort Payne so much, the Tigers went back to it for Game 3.

Colton Ord pitched a three-hitter and sixth-ranked Hartselle took command with a three-run first inning en route to an 8-1 win over the Wildcats in the deciding third game Saturday.

The Tigers (33-17) advanced to face area rival No. 4 Cullman in a best-of-three second-round series beginning Friday at Cullman. The Bearcats swept Madison County.

Ord allowed an unearned run and one walk and struck out three.

“That first inning I was a little bit shaky, but I got [through] that, and we put three runs on the board. I felt great,” he said.

After opening Game 2 with a homer Friday, Deacon Aldridge started Saturday’s game with a double down the third-base line.

Ord laid down a sacrifice bunt and raced all the way to second, with Aldridge scoring, when Fort Payne’s pitcher threw the ball away.

Brett Blackwood followed with a homer to left, giving the Tigers a 3-0 lead.

“Best game we’ve played all year,” Hartselle coach William Booth said. “My pitcher pitched good. We hit in the clutch. We had a lot of good things going for us today.”

Fort Payne (25-13) tried it answer in its half of the first.

Alan Smith walked with one out, moved to second on a wild pitch and got caught in a rundown between third and home when Jess Smith singled with two out.

Alan Smith scored when Hartselle’s third basemen threw the ball away, but Blackwood induced a fly out to end the threat.

“He changed speeds just a little bit and threw strikes,” Booth said.

Hartselle added to its advantage in the fifth with the help of two Fort Payne miscues.

Chris Brown reached when the shortstop booted a ball with two out. Austin Spangler followed with a line drive that Fort Payne’s center fielder overran. The ball sailed over his head, and Spangler raced to third with an RBI triple.

Spangler scored on a Kaleb Jones single, pushing the advantage to 5-1.

Hartselle sealed the win with three runs in the sixth, scoring on an error, a double steal and Brown’s RBI single.

Fort Payne swept the Tigers in an opening-round series a year ago and prevailed 8-7 in eight innings in Game 1 on Friday, but Hartselle scored four runs in the first inning of Game 2 and went on to a 5-3 win behind the solid pitching of Jackson Smith.

Ord said the Tigers were already motivated after losing at Fort Payne a year ago, but added the Game 1 loss Friday fired them up even more.

“We saw the goal we set slipping away,” he said. “That right there woke everybody up.”

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