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franklin county times

Russellville rally falls short against Hatton

By Staff
Mike Self FCT Sports Editor
RUSSELLVILLE - Russellville enjoyed perhaps its best hitting performance of the season on Thursday against Hatton, but a late rally by the Golden Tigers came up just short as they fell to the Hornets 11-10 in the first game of a doubleheader.
Russellville bounced back with an 8-2 win in the nightcap.
The Golden Tigers (3-9) had managed just nine extra-base hits in their first 10 games, but they nearly matched that in Thursday's opener with six doubles and their first home run of the season among their 12 hits.
Ultimately, though, they were unable to out-hit a handful of defensive miscues and a five-run sixth inning by the Hornets.
"That was a heartbreaker," Russellville coach Steve Kerby said. "The big innings are still killing us. We make a mistake, and then we let it get to us and we make another mistake.
"I'm proud of our guys, though. They played hard and fought back, and they never quit. We just came up a run short in the end."
Russellville tied the game 6-6 on a two-run double by Craig Bullion in the bottom of the fifth, but Ross Parker's two-out, two-run single sparked a five-run rally by the Hornets in the top of the sixth.
The Golden Tigers refused to go quietly, trimming the lead to 11-8 on a two-run single by Corey Flanagan in the bottom of the seventh. Ty Cox kept the rally alive with a two-out single, and another run scored when Caleb Mitchell reached on an error.
Cory Trapp drew a bases-loaded walk to pull the Golden Tigers within a run, and freshman catcher Torey Baird stepped to the plate with the winning run on second base.
Baird, who reached base his first four times up, lined the first pitch from Calvin Ard into left-center field, but Blake Cleckler tracked it down for the final out.
"We had the bases loaded and our best hitter at the plate," Kerby said. "They hadn't been able to get him out all night. He got a good pitch to hit and hit a hard line drive, but he just happened to hit it a couple of steps away from one of the best center fielder's in the area.
"Torey did a good job. Sometimes it just doesn't work out for you."
Baird finished the night 2-for-3 with a double and two walks, and he wasn't the only Golden Tiger to shine.
Senior Nick Woods finished a triple short of the cycle, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs. His two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth gave Russellville a 4-3 lead.
Bullion finished 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs, and Flanagan was 2-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and two RBIs.
"Nick has really been coming through for us," Kerby said. "Craig hit the ball well tonight, too. We had a lot of guys swing the bats well. We just have to put it all together. When we get our hitting, pitching and fielding all going good at the same time, we'll start winning some ball games."
Bullion took the loss, allowing nine hits and a walk while striking out eight in a complete game. The senior righthander finished strong, striking out the side in the top of the seventh.
"Craig threw the ball really well tonight," Kerby said. "I think he just got a little frustrated at times. He threw an awful lot of pitches, but he felt good so I left him in there."
The Golden Tigers committed five errors on the night, including two by Bullion during Hatton's three-run rally in the top of the fifth.
Parker, who finished 3-for-4, broke a 4-4 tie with a two-run single to left.
Hatton starter Trent Stewart walked Baird and Fergerson with one out in the bottom of the fifth, and both runners moved up on a wild pitch.
Ard came on in relief, and Bullion smashed a curveball into the alley in right-center to tie the game.
Parker struck again in the sixth with another two-run single to make it 8-6, and Matthew Dudley followed with a two-run double. Jared England's RBI single made it 11-6 and provided what proved to be the winning run.
Hatton scored an unearned run in the top of the first, but Russellville tied the game in the second on doubles by Bullion and Woods.
The Golden Tigers took their first lead in the third when Trapp doubled, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a throwing error.
Hatton quickly re-gained the lead with two runs in the top of the fourth, but Woods put Russellville back on top in the bottom half when he followed a double by Flanagan with a drive off the top of the center-field fence for the Golden Tigers' first home run of the season.
Fergerson finished 1-for-2 with two walks and two runs scored.
Russellville 8 Hatton 2
Seth Fergerson hit a two-run homer, and freshman Trey Hooper struck out six in five strong innings as the Golden Tigers earned a split.
Hooper allowed just one run on five hits before giving way to Matt Humphries, who struck out three and allowed one run over the final two innings.
Fergerson was 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Craig Bullion and Ty Cox each went 1-for-3 with a run.

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