Hartselle sweeps Spanish Fort to win 5A baseball titlePublished 2:23pm Tuesday, May 21, 2013
MONTGOMERY – Hartselle head coach William Booth calls Brett Blackwood “The Money Man.”
Junior Brett Blackwood owns the AHSAA record for hits and the school record RBIs in a season. So when Deacon Aldridge got on base with one-out error in the top of the seventh inning, there was no decision to let Easton Chenault bunt him over to second to set up Blackwood.
Even with an 0-2 count, Class 5A Finals MVP still delivered.
He put his bat out with a defensive swing and then the ball found a gap in the infield, giving Hartselle a 3-2 win in Game 2 of the Class 5A Championship Series and its eighth state championship.
“I just tried to throw the bat out there and touch the ball,” Blackwood said. “I’ve done that plenty of times this, just touch the ball and it would go right through that hole (between third base and shortstop).”
Brady Wallace (3-2) was the unlikely winner for the final game of Hartselle’s season. He made his first appearance in a game since April 9 against Cullman and looked sharp.
He scattered two hits and four walks while striking out three through four scoreless innings.
“To be put in the second game of the state championship, it’s a great opportunity,” Wallace said. “I took advantage of it and pitched like always.
“I started off the year not so well, but I kept working toward the end of the year and did a lot better. To get the chance to pitch in this last game is a great way to top it off.”
Booth said he had no trouble turning the game over to Wallace, who hadn’t been in a game in 39 days, and then giving senior Colton Ord a chance to get his first save of the season.
“I had three or four more ready to go. I just felt he was the right one at the time,” Booth said. “I had Levi (Tapscott) warmed up and Deacon (Aldridge) ready to go. We were going to go with who we felt like the right person was at that time. Then we put Colton in because we felt he was the right person.”
Catcher Chris Brown, who will be heading to the University of Alabama-Huntsville next year, said that sweeping Spanish Fort was the culmination of the team’s dream since day one.
“To come out here and beat them in two is just really big, especially for this team.” Brown said. “That was our goal in the beginning to make it all the way here. And it’s great to come out on top. It couldn’t have happened to a better team.
“It’s the best team I’ve seen as a whole,” Brown said. “We went through ups and downs and worked through them like a true family.”
After the Tigers took the lead in the top of the seventh, Colton Ord finished the deal, pitching around a leadoff error to get his only save of the season. He ended the game with a strikeout.
Starter Tillman Landers struggled early, allowing two earned runs on three hits and two walks. He got into trouble with a leadoff single and a walk in the second inning.
Matt Hall scored the first run with a sacrifice fly. Jesse McCord followed it up with an RBI single. But Landers stranded two runners by forcing a groundout for the final out of the stanza.
Wallace took over in the third inning and settled the Toros hitting down. He got in trouble in the fifth inning, loading the bases on two walks (one intentional) and a single. He cleaned it up by getting Tyler Trammell to ground out to second baseman Zane Hamlett.
Hartselle finally got its offense going in the fifth. Blackwood drew a leadoff walk and then moved to third base on Chris Brown’s single.
McCord of the Toros threw a wild pitch, which allowed Blackwood to take home. Blake Slayton drove an 0-2 through the infield to tie the game at 2-2, scoring Tanner Oakes who was running for Brown.
Then, Hartselle set up Blackwood for the game-winning run.
“What do you think we bunted him (Aldridge) over there for?” Booth said. “He’s the money man.
The Tigers finished the season with a 44-15 record. Booth also recorded his eighth championship as a coach and improved to 907-345 in his career.
Blackwood said the season has been incredible for him and his teammates.
“The whole team was fired up the whole year,” Blackwood said. “Ever since we’ve been down, everybody’s been focused. We just became one.”