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Hartselle comes up a run short in state finals

May 18—JACKSONVILLE — Hartselle needed to win two games Friday to win a state baseball championship, and the Tigers nearly pulled it off.

Hartselle defeated Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa 10-3 in Game 2 but came up just short in Game 3, losing the championship game 7-6.

Hartselle fell to Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa 14-3 in five innings in Game 1 on Thursday.

"I don't have enough good things to say about this team," Hartselle coach Jake Miles said. "We wanted the blue map (championship trophy), but the color of the trophy doesn't change how proud I am of this team. These 10 seniors played in three state finals in four years, and it's been a lot of fun watching them do the things they've done."

In Game 3, Hartselle led 3-1 but fell behind 6-3 in the fifth inning thanks to a Hillcrest grand slam.

The Tigers rebounded, though, tying the game 6-6 in the sixth inning.

"When they hit that (grand slam), I just looked at our second baseman and said, 'We're fine," Hartselle senior first baseman Lawson Williams said. "I had all the confidence in the world that we were going to come back."

Hartselle's comeback fell short, however, when Hillcrest scored the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning.

"We had to keep the dugout up and we found a way to get back in the game," senior shortstop Cade Miles said. "We were going to keep coming after them, and in the end things just didn't go our way. Hats off to them."

Cam Palahach led the team with two hits and two RBIs, while Witt Crisler had two hits. Brody Leathers finished with a hit and two RBIs.

Game 2 — Hartselle 10, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa 3: Hartselle made sure not to go down without a fight on Friday, soundly defeating Hillcrest in Game 2 to force a winner-take-all Game 3.

Hartselle got on the board early, scoring a run in the first and adding two more in the third. The Tigers broke the game open in the fifth with four runs to take a 7-1 lead.

Lawson Williams led the team with three hits and three RBIs, while JoJo Williamson had three hits and two RBIs. Cam Palahach added two hits and two RBIs.

Nick Chumley got the complete game win on the mound, allowing 11 hits and three runs with four strikeouts.

caleb.suggs@decaturdaily.com or 256-340-2395. Twitter @CalebSuggs2