Hartselle, Homewood tied after doubleheaderPublished 11:15pm Friday, May 3, 2013
The rains came Friday night, but not early enough for Hartselle to advance to the Class 5A semifinals.
After the Tigers (39-15) took game 1 11-1 in five innings, Homewood (29-7) used a five-run fifth inning to win 7-4 officially and force game 3, which was postponed until Monday at 5 p.m. at Reuben Sims Field.
Hartselle had cut the lead to 7-6 and had the tying run in scoring position when play was suspended with one out in the top of the sixth inning.
As the rain began to get harder, the Homewood head coach took a trip to the mound, as a stalling tactic to wait for the umpires to call the game.
Moments later, the home plate umpire suspended play. Hartselle’s baseball team tried to cover the infield with a tarp, but the rain was so heavy that only half of the infield could be covered before the tarp got stuck.
Head coach William Booth said the game is still on for Saturday as of late Friday night.
“If it rains like this all night, there’s no way we can play tomorrow,” Booth said. “We’re going to come up here on Saturday and see what we can do.”
However, Booth was more concerned with the five-run rally that gave Homewood the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning.
With the bases loaded and Hartselle leading 4-3, Mason Schoettlin reached base due to an error. That allowed two runs to score.
Hartselle tried to throw the next runner out at the plate, but it was late. Then, the Tigers tried to throw out Schoettlin, but the throw went into left field, allowing him to come home and complete the in-the-park grand slam.
“We gave up that in-the-park home because of a couple of errors,” Booth said. “If we don’t do that, we win the series.”
Hartselle tried to rally as Zane Hamlett tripled down the right field line, scoring Blake Slayton. Deacon Aldridge then hit into a fielder’s choice to cut the lead to 7-6, but it was too late. The rains came, which voided those Hartselle runs and left the Patriots with a 7-4 win.
Hartselle actually led the game 4-0. Aldridge hit the first pitch of the second game out of the park. Easton Chenault hit a double with the bases loaded to drive in three runs.
Homewood got on the board with a bases-loaded single by Jack Smalley, cutting the lead to 4-2.
Chenault led the hitting with a 2-for-3 night with three RBIs.
Aldridge took the loss, allowing five runs on no hits and four walks. Only one of the runs was earned. Hartselle starter Tillman Landers allowed two runs on four hits with a walk and three strikeouts.
Brian Browning earned the win for Homewood, allowing five runs on five hits and three walks with two strikeouts.
In the first game, Hartselle smoked the Patriots for eight runs on eight hits in the top of the fourth inning.
The key to the rally may have been assistant coach Jerry Childrers, who won an argument with the umpires. After Colton Ord drew a leadoff walk, Slayton was attempting to bunt to move Ord over to second base.
With the count 0-2, Ord took off early for second base while Slayton pulled back late on a low ball, which rolled past the catcher.
The home plate umpire initially ruled Slayton out for batter interference and sent Ord back to first base.
Childers argued with the umpire who changed his ruling, allowing Ord to go back to second and Slayton to bat with a 1-2 count.
That delay of about five or 10 minutes rattled Homewood, as two consecutive passed ball allowed Ord to score. Although Slatyon eventually struck out, the next seven Hartselle batters rolled off hits, six of which drove in runs. Slayton came back and finished the rally with an RBI double.
Then in the fifth inning, a bases loaded walk drawn by Aaron Lamb ended the game.
Schoettlin put Homewood up 1-0, thanks to a leadoff homer in the second inning, but that’s all the scoring that Jackson Smith would allow.
Hamlett gave Hartselle the lead for good on a two-RBI double in the bottom of the second inning.
Smith struck out three batters, gave up six hits and walked three batters. Luke Porter took the loss, allowing seven earned runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and one walk.
Every Hartselle batter had at least one hit in Game 1. Brett Blackwood and Hamlett both had two hits apiece. Hamlett and Chenault had two RBIs each.