Montgomery, AL – Russellville High School’s Cole Barnett and Andrew Hatton slugged back-to-back triples in the bottom of the sixth inning to ignite a two-out rally that produced the tying and go-ahead runs as the Golden Tigers (42-7) beat Pike Road 3-2 in Game 2 of the AHSAA Class 5A State Baseball Championship Series at Riverwalk Stadium Tuesday. The state title was the fourth in school history and the first since winning three in a row in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Russellville, coached by Chris Heaps, won the first game of the best-of-three series Monday night 3-1 at Paterson Field.
Barnett, who finished 3-for-3 and was named the 5A series MVP with five hits in the two games, started the rally with a two-out triple down to left center and Hatton then delivered a slicing triple that fell just out of the diving reach of right fielder Jax Carlton to drive in the tying run. Hatton, who finished the season with three straight successful pinch hits, scored on a perfectly executed suicide squeeze bunt for a hit by Grayson Thorpe to give the Golden Tigers its first and only lead of the game.
Reliever Reed Hill pitched the top of the seventh – yielding one hit – a towering 395-foot double Pike Road DH Iverson Hooks that hit the top of wall in left center field just a couple of feet shy of a game-tying home run. Reed then struck out two to seal the win. It was his second save of the series and seventh of the season.
Starter Rowe Gallagher (9-2) got the win allowing three hits over six innings with five strikeouts.
Pike Road pitcher Clay Slagle pitched all six innings for the Patriots (29-11). He scattered nine hits and struck out four. Hooks had two of Pike’s four hits and Andrew Britton had one hit and RBI.
All AHSAA State Baseball Championship Series opening games at Paterson Field are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network. All games played at Riverwalk Stadium are also being shown over AHSAA TV Network managed y and are produced by WOTM TV.