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Showdown success

The Russellville baseball team recently participated in the Dinger Bats/Fox Sports Shoals Summer High School Showdown, and the Golden Tigers took first place.

Eight teams played in the off-season tournament that serves as an opportunity for high school baseball squads to prepare for next year. Teams used wooden bats instead of the usual metal ones.

Teams were split into two pools to begin tournament play, with Russellville, Brooks, Central-Florence and Lauderdale County all facing each other in games played at Brooks High School. Meanwhile, at Wilson High School, the Warriors hosted a pool consisting of Phil Campbell, Mars Hill and Summertown, Tenn.

Russellville took game one over Lauderdale County and followed that up with a win over Central.  Needing one more victory to assure their spot in the championship game, the Golden Tigers took a win over the Brooks Lions.

The Summertown Eagles also advanced to the final game by finishing first in the Wilson group.

Mike D. Lane Field on the campus of the University of North Alabama was the site for the matchup between RHS and Summertown, and the two teams played a scheduled nine-inning game for the championship, with Russellville coming out on top by a 2-1 score.

Rising left-handed freshman Logan White pitched a gem for Russellville, going seven innings and allowing no runs and four hits.

RHS worked out of bases-loaded, no outs situation twice in the game without allowing a run in either instance.

Rowe Gallagher got the save by working the final two frames on the mound.

“Logan White carried a lot of guts to the mound,” said Russellville head coach Chris Heaps. “A lot of guts for a young guy. He is small and undersized, but man, the kid can pitch.”

Russellville scored first in the game’s fourth inning. Catcher Canyon Pace led the inning off with a double, and then Cole Barnett moved courtesy runner Casen Heaps over to third on a ground out.

After a strike out, Gordon White then smacked a clutch RBI single to make the score 1-0.

The Golden Tigers scored their other run in the seventh inning. Casen Heaps started off the frame with a single, and then the Eagles went to the bullpen for the first time in the game. JD Bishop greeted the reliever with a sacrifice bunt, moving Casen Heaps to second with one out.

Will Rogers, who had three hits and a walk in the contest, then singled to right for an RBI hit.

“Will Rogers had a huge RBI,” Heaps said. “I was super-proud of him, and we did a lot of the little things that we needed to do.”

Summertown scored its lone run of the game in the ninth inning.

A lead-off walk got the Eagles’ attempt at a rally started. After a strike out, RHS committed a throwing error on an infield grounder to put runners on second and third with one out. A failed bunt attempt followed, but then a chance for a game-ending catch on an infield pop-fly came up empty and a run scored.

With the potential tying run on third with two outs, Gallagher got the next batter on an infield fly to second base to end the game.