RHS rides momentum into championship game
The Russellville Golden Tigers will be playing for the 5A state championship in baseball this week in Montgomery and if their current streak is any indicator, the blue map might be coming home with them.
Russellville travelled to Alexandria on May 8 to face what was billed as one of their toughest games of the season. The 5A teams squared off in a three-game series—but the Golden Tigers only needed two to dispatch the home team and move on to the championship game.
The first two frames saw Russellville and Alexandria trade runs in the first inning and go quiet in the second, but the third inning is when Russellville’s offense exploded into an eight-run inning to take a commanding 9-1 lead. After Alexandria notched one more in the bottom of the inning, Russellville led 9-2 before coming down the stretch.
The Golden Tigers added two more in the top of the fifth inning before Alexandria put together a modest comeback attempt with three of their own, making it 11-5 heading into the final inning.
Russellville took the air out of the home team’s stadium and put game one away by thrashing the Alexandria pitching staff for seven more runs to close things out.
The Golden Tigers tallied 18 runs on 20 hits to break open the first game of the series. Cody Greenhill went 4 and 2/3 innings for the Golden Tigers before Skyler Stevens came in as relief. Russellville pitching surrendered only five runs on eight hits to a team containing one of the best batters in the state—Cody Dodd of Alexandria.
Judd Ward led Russellville with five RBIs and three hits. Colin Garrison added three hits for the Golden Tigers as well.
Game two was a different story, and in a trend for the Golden Tigers during the playoffs, an offensive-heavy first game was paired with a more buttoned-up second game.
Jacob Green, the Russellville senior and ace pitcher, went the distance and pitched a shutout in game two for the Golden Tigers. Green gave up no runs on five hits as the Russellville bats took a few innings before the explosiveness from the first game returned.
The late game turned tense after four scoreless innings between the two 5A semi-finalists. Both teams had chances but couldn’t bring in base runners and the final few innings would prove to be the breaking point for Alexandria.
Russellville broke open the scoring in the bottom of the fifth frame as they brought two men across the plate to take a 2-0 lead heading for the home stretch.
Reed Smith led the Golden Tigers with three hits and Landon Oliver and Austin Kitterman both had an RBI each.
The Golden Tigers added one more run in the bottom of the sixth inning before Green took the mound and shut the Alexandria bats down one more time.
Green finished with six strikeouts and a 1.00 WHIP over the course of seven innings.
Russellville travels to Montgomery, Ala. to Patterson Field on May 14 to face Helena in the 5A state championship. The Golden Tigers and the Huskies start their series at 7 p.m. on Thursday.