E.A. Sports Today

Valley Cubs swept from playoffs

[corner-ad id=2]Russellville wins big in opener, then blanks Alexandria and scores late in Class 5A semifinals

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

ALEXANDRIA — Russellville was comfortable playing long ball and small ball on the road and swept Alexandria 18-5, 3-0 to ruin the Valley Cubs’ hopes of winning a state championship.

Instead, the Golden Tigers (33-6) will play Helena (26-17) in a best-of-three series Class 5A title series at Paterson Field starting May 14. The Valley Cubs end their season 33-7.

To say the Golden Tiger bats were hot in the first game would be a huge understatement. All nine starters had at least two hits apiece and all except one drove in a run as they quieted the huge crowd lining the entire field.

They pounded seven straight hits in both the third and sixth innings as they scored eight and seven runs, respectively. Austin Bohannon blasted a three-run homer to left center during the uprisings as he continued his hot hitting in the playoffs with his fourth home run.

Reed Smith, Judd Ward (four RBIs) and Bohannon all had three hits, while Colin Garrison, Landon Oliver, Austin Kitterman, Skyler Stephens, Jacob Green and Landon Ezell all had two hits. The Golden Tigers ended up with 22 hits in the game.

The eight-run third opened a 9-1 lead and that was enough for starting pitcher Cody Greenhill, who went into the fifth inning.

Alexandria cut the lead to 11-5 before Stephens got the Valley Cubs to line out with the bases loaded. Stephens pitched the sixth and allowed only a single to Dalton Cobb, who had four of the Cubs’ hits on the night.

Cody Dodd started for the Cubs and gave up 11 runs on 15 hits until he was relieved in the top of the fifth. Dakota Kelley added a couple of doubles for the Valley Cubs in the loss.

The Golden Tigers broke up a great pitching duel in the nightcap between Alexandria lefty Justin Whitley and Russellville’s Jacob Green with two runs in the fifth.

Oliver’s hit scored Reed Smith with the first run and Austin Kitterman’s squeeze bunt scored Oliver one out later to make it 2-0.

Judd Ward’s grounder scored Landon Ezell in the bottom of the sixth inning to put the game away 3-0. Green retired the Valley Cubs in order in the seventh.

Green went the distance in picking up his fourth win of the playoffs and extended the Golden Tigers win streak to 18 games. He struck out six and walked two.

Lead-off hitter Smith had three of Russellville’s six hits off of Whitley, who entered the game with an ERA under 1.00. Whitley allowed two earned runs and struck out four.

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