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RHS sinks Pirates to begin baseball playoffs

The top-ranked Russellville High School varsity baseball team began the quest for a state championship with a first-round series sweep of the Boaz Pirates in the AHSAA Class 5A playoffs.

Russellville hosted BHS April 23, and the Golden Tigers had no trouble eliminating the Pirates by scores of 11-0 and 14-3 in the best-of-three series.

Emitt Green got the start on the mound in game one and pitched all five innings for the win. Green allowed five hits and struck out two while throwing 62 pitches.

Canyon Pace hit a home run and was 3-for-3 at the plate with four RBIs. Eli Gipson added two hits, two runs scored and three RBIs.

Jackson Lindsey also had a couple of hits, a run and an RBI. Reed Hill picked up two additional RBIs for RHS, and Nick Smith drove in a run and scored twice.

Cole Barnett and Casen Heaps also hit safely for Russellville.

The Golden Tigers were active on the bases with eight steals in the contest.

In game two, RHS jumped out to a 6-0 first inning lead and held an 8-0 advantage after two innings of play.

Pace kept his hot streak going with another home run and his second 3-for-3 performance at the plate in a row. His fourth-inning homer accounted for his third RBI of the game and seventh of the day.

Heaps also hit a home run and had two RBIs.

Lindsey and Smith each went 2-for-2 with two doubles apiece. Smith had three RBIs, and Logan White also doubled and picked up an RBI.

Gordon White added two singles and an RBI, while Brayden Heaps, Hill, Shayden Romans, Andrew Hatton and Banks Langston also hit safely.

“I was really proud of our hitters,” said Russellville head coach Chris Heaps. “We had a lot of really good at-bats, even from guys who started off in the dugout and came into the game. It didn’t matter who was playing; we hit the ball well.”

Rowe Gallagher got the start on the mound in game two and the win. He was relieved by Samuel Pace, who entered the game with the bases loaded and one out in the fourth – and the right-hander got out of the jam with no runs scoring.

Hill finished the game with an inning of work.

Russellville (34-5) will travel to Corner in round two to take on the Yellow Jackets. RHS visited and defeated Corner in the 2016 semi-finals on the way to the school’s second-straight state title.

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