The Cullman Times
When Cullman’s tennis squads return to Point Mallard in just a few weeks time for the state tournament, coach Nathan Bates can only hope both teams perform as well as his Bearcat boys did this past weekend.
The Black and Gold concluded the Austin High School Invitational on Saturday with 56 total points, eclipsing second-place finisher Auburn High by 13 points. Hewitt-Trussville placed third to round out the top three.
“We pulled out a lot of tough matches,” Bates said. “I was really proud of their performance. We played pretty well in both singles and doubles.”
The Bearcats triumphed over a stacked field of mostly Class 6A squads with a few lower classes sprinkled about.
Ryan Hunt (7-5, 6-1) and Matthew Davis (6-3, 6-1) won at the No. 5 and No. 6 seeds in singles, respectively, while teammate Luke Bowden fell in the finals at No. 4.
“Matthew really played great in his match,” Bates said. “We were only up three points over Auburn at the time, but his win really let us pull away from the field.”
While No. 1 doubles tandem Baylor Adams and Jacob Davis fell in the semifinals to Hewitt-Trussville, No 2. Bowden/Clint Watson and No. 3 M. Davis/Hunt rocked the competition, picking up wins of (6-4, 6-0) and (6-7, 6-3 (10-6)).
“This was a really competitive tournament,” Bates said. “It’s the same place and same format that the state tourney will be. Similar conditions and similar level of play.”
The Bearcats will travel to Springville on Thursday for a sectional match.
Cullman’s boys won its first tournament of the season, and Good Hope’s Eli Marty wrapped up low-medalist honors to conclude a spectacular showing by Cullman County at the Fairview Invitational on Monday.
Sylas Elliott, Colby Sandlin and Colby Sandlin all carded 7-over 79s at Gunter’s Landing to pace the Bearcats. Lee Mattox, 82, and Garrett Crider, 84, rounded out the team’s total of 319, which gave the Black and Gold a 19-shot cushion over second-place Boaz.
Marty advanced to a playoff with a 5-over 77. The Raider No. 1 then clinched the win with a birdie on the second extra hole.
Aggie Trey Hanvey finished right in the thick of the action with an 80.
Braden Walker (83) was Holly Pond’s top golfer, followed by Colby Adams (84) and Hunter Walker (89).
Wallace State Softball
% Wallace State 2, Shelton State 0: The seventh-ranked Lions’ Lindsey DeFee limited the Lady Bucs to five hits and struck out six on Sunday to clinch a victory in her sixth straight start. The decision improved her record to 14-3 and lowered her ERA to 1.54.
Maria Mitchell’s second-inning, two-run single gave DeFee all the run support she needed.
Laken Hancock was 3 for 4 for Wallace State, Mitchell was 2 for 3, Madeline Lee had a bunt single and scored a run, and Kori Benson crossed the plate once.
% Shelton State 2, Wallace State 0: The Lions’ BreeAnna Blevins was the tough-luck loser in the nightcap, surrendering a game-winning hit to the Lady Bucs’ Casey Wyatt in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Wallace State collected three hits in the loss. Katie Gentle had a double, and Lee and Brittany Gillison each had singles.
Blevins (13-3) went 6 2/3 innings and allowed two runs on four hits, striking out eight and walking four.
% Wallace State 7, Snead State 5: DeFee started the weekend off right, striking out nine, allowing two earned runs and going the distance in a Saturday road win for the Lions.
Wallace State racked up 14 hits, led by Gentle, who went 2 for 3, including a first-inning triple and three-run home run in the fourth. Victoria Frith went 2 for 3 with a double, two runs and an RBI. Gillison drove in a run with a double. Benson went 3 for 4. Lee hit a double and a single. Maria Mitchell was 2 for 3 with a run. Shaquille Morris was 1 for 3 with a run.
% Wallace State 1, Snead State 0: The second game was a pitcher’s dual won by Blevins, who gave up five hits and one walk while collecting seven K’s.
Paige Rowland’s fourth-inning solo home run was the lone score of the contest.
Hancock, Lee and Mitch also had hits for the Lions.
The Lions, winners of five of the last six ACCC state championships, will host their first conference home game today against Gadsden State. Their doubleheader will begin at 4 p.m.
Wallace State Baseball
% Wallace State 13, Snead State 2: The Lions got on the board quickly in Saturday’s opening game, scoring five runs in the first inning and three in the second to build a commanding lead.
Sawyer Williams and Zac Hatfield were both 2 for 3 with 2 RBIs apiece, while Joe Klepac was 1 for 1 with two RBIs.
Bret Marks (4-2) was credited with the win, striking out four and giving up one run in five innings.
% Snead State 6, Wallace State 3: Sophomore center fielder Jeremiah Tullidge crushed his first two home runs of the season in a losing effort for the Lions.
Nathan Vincent, Andrew Dennis and Wayne Carrel also had hits for the Lions.
Izaac Yarborough (3-2) was saddled with the second-game loss. Four runs were scored on the Vinemont grad’s watch, but only three of them were earned. Yarborough struck out three in 3 2/3 innings.
Next up for the Lions will be a doubleheader on the road Thursday versus Shelton State. They’ll welcome the Bucs for another pair of ballgames on Saturday at 3 p.m.
Wallace State’s record stands at 21-14 this season and 13-7 in the Alabama Community College Conference, putting it in contention for first place with 18 games to still to play.
% The Times’ Jake Winfrey and Rob Ketcham, as well as Wallace State’s sports information department, contributed to this report.