Home run derby
Rhudy, Baird blast 2 HRs apiece; RHS seizes lead in rain-delayed series against Scottsboro
Eighth-ranked Russellville put on a hitting display Friday against shell-shocked Scottsboro in the opening round of the Class 5A baseball playoffs Friday.
Russellville won the opener 15-0 as sophomore righthander Jake Ward (8-2) needed only 59 pitches en route to a five-inning one-hitter. He walked only one batter while striking out eight
Russellville (30-11, 6-0), the Area 16 champions, also led Area 16 Scottsboro (11-13, 6-3) 6-0 in the top of the third inning of Game 2 as senior righty Cory Trapp continued to keep the Wildcats off the scoreboard with two strikeouts in two scoreless innings. After a four-hour rain delay, the game was re-scheduled for noon Saturday, with a deciding Game 3 to immediately follow, if necessary.
Junior designated hitter Seth Rhudy and senior catcher Torey Baird powered the Russellville offensive attack as the Golden Tigers pounded out 17 hits and 21 runs in only seven innings of at-bats in both games combined. They also swiped a total of five bases and drew eight walks, a balk and two hit-by-pitches.
Rhudy, who went 4-for-5 with seven RBIs and three runs scored in the doubleheader, sparked a five-run fifth inning in Game 1 with his first home run of the season, a two-out grand slam over the right field fence that scored Ryan Romans, Trapp, who went 2-for-3 with four runs scored, and John Batchelor. Rhudy didn't wait very long to hit his second homer as he hammered the second pitch in the top of a five-run third inning of Game 2 to bring in Trapp, who had tripled to the right field corner, and put Russellville ahead 6-0 shortly before the game was halted due to steady rain.
Baird, who had another solid defensive performance behind the plate by blocking several balls in the bumpy dirt near home, went 2-for-3 in the two games with four RBIs, a walk and HBP. He also increased his team-leading home run total to nine after leading off the second inning of Game 1 with a second-pitch solo shot and a three-run dinger in the third inning of the nightcap to bring around Corey Flanagan, who singled and stole second, and Jacob Daniel, who battled back from a 1-2 count to draw a walk and went 2-for-2 for the day with two RBIs, three walks, three runs scored.
Scottsboro burned through three of its pitchers in only four innings in the first game, which was called after the Wildcats failed to score in the top of the fifth. Starter Eric Lano and relievers Ben Gross and Trey Brizendine combined to give up 15 runs, 11 hits and four walks as Russellville totaled one run in the first, three in the second, five in the third and six in the fourth.
In the second game, Wildcats starter Connor Boykin gave up six hits and six runs and walked three batters before being pulled for fellow junior Jay Benson, who only faced Russellville's senior leadoff hitter Caleb Mitchell, who went 3-for-5 for the day, with an RBI, two runs scored, a walk and a steal, before the game was stopped after the Golden Tigers broke open a 1-0 lead with five runs in the top of the third inning.