Montgomery, AL – Hartselle relief pitcher Coby Widner came to the mound in the bottom of the sixth inning with no outs and the bases loaded with the Tigers hanging onto a precarious 8-3 lead Wednesday in the second game of the 2021 AHSAA Class 6A State Baseball Championship series with Faith Academy.
When the dust settled, Widner struck out the next three Rams to close out the game in the seventh with another scoreless effort to seal the Tigers win and force game three, which got under way at 1:30 p.m. today.
He did allow one hit in the seventh but his save proved to be the crowning blow as Hartselle (43-19) kept its state championship hopes alive for one final game.
Elliott Bray (8-3) hurled five innings allowing five hits while striking out four. He walked seven and hit two batters.
Right fielder Coleman Mizell slugged a towering homer to the opposite field over the left-field wall traveling 380 feet in the top of the first inning to jumpstart the Tigers win.
Faith Academy (33-7), who won game one Tuesday 10-1, tied the game 2-2 in the bottom of the second inning on a single by Dakota Saranthus.
Hartselle, coached by Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame inductee Coach William Booth, scored three in the fourth and three more in the sixth – the big hit coming on bases-loaded double to drive in three runs and extended the lead to 8-3.
Andrew Cartee had a double and single, Bray had a double and RBI and Peyton Steele had two hits.
Cole Berry had two hits to pace Faith Academy.
Parker Carlson (7-1) pitched five innings, allowed six hits and struck out 11 in the loss, his first of the season. Reliver Gatlin Montgomery struck out two giving the Rams pitchers 13 overall.
The AHSAA TV Network, produced by WOTM TV, is televising the remaining games of the series live over the WOTM network of cable stations and is also being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.
Class 7A and Class 4A begin their series with single games at Paterson Field later today. Hoover takes on Auburn at 4 p.m., in the 7A opener while Mobile Christian and Oneonta open the 4A series at 7 p.m. The two series conclude at Riverwalk Stadium Thursday and the Class 3A championship series between Phil Campbell and Bayside Academy play at 6 p.m. in game one of that series at Paterson Field Thursday night. The 3A series concludes Friday at Riverwalk beginning with game two at 10 a.m.