The #3 Cullman Bearcats traveled to Shelby County to take on the #7 ranked Hornets of Chelsea Friday night. The first of the three-game series was a tight game, but the Cats came up short, losing 5-4 after a walk-off error by Cullman.
Cullman ended the first game with seven hits. Hayden Stancil and Jake Dueland led the way with two hits each, while Brennen Norton, Zach Edwards, and Jack Stanford each, respectively, had a hit. Jeb Bartle and Austin Hurt were on the mound for the Bearcats. The combo gave up only five hits despite the defensive struggles. The Cats finished the game with six errors that would eventually cost them the game.
No worries, Coach Patterson and his Cullman Bearcats would bounce back and take out their anger on the Hornets in game two to force a game three on Saturday. Junior standout Hayden Stancil was able to get a strong start on the mound for the Cats, only giving up one hit and one run in four and one-third innings. Stancil struck out six on the Hornets batters before being relieved by Austin Hurt. Hurt threw three and two-thirds innings, giving up zero hits and zero runs with two strick outs.
Offensively, the Bearcats smashed the ball with a total of ten hits. Brennen Norton led the Cats with three hits, backed up by Matt Brocks two hits. Max Dueland, Jake Dueland, Hunter Brooks, Austin Hurt, and Paxton Ponder each added a hit to their resume.
Coach Patterson sparked a fire under his team defensively in the second game. After giving up six errors in the first game of the series, the Cats backed it up with a perfect defensive game, allowing no errors.
Cullman will be back in action Saturday to play the third game of the three-game series and the hopes of moving on to round three of the AHSAA State Playoffs.
Photo Credit: Sharon Tucker