Crocker and Cleveland capped off the Black and Gold’s scoring efforts with respective sacrifice flies in the sixth and seventh innings.
Kristian Robinson poked a hit past Hartselle’s second baseman in his final at-bat, rounding out an offensive outburst Cullman coach Brent Patterson was obviously pleased to see.
“Our pitchers are doing the same thing day in and day out for the most part,” he said. “It’s definitely nice to score some runs and get those guys some breathing room.”
The area title clinched home-field advantage for the Bearcats in the first round of the playoffs, which are set to begin in a little more than a week. They’ll also remain at the friendly confines of Bill Shelton Field for Round 2 if they draw an area opponent.
Thompson hasn’t forgotten the Black and Gold were in the same situation last year, and the end result wasn’t what he desired. Hartselle traveled to Cullman and wound up winning the series in three games to send the home team packing for the rest of the playoffs.
This time around, Thompson would love nothing more than to turn the tables on the Tigers.
“We really haven’t accomplished anything yet,” he said. “We’re just looking forward to the playoffs, and if we play them again, it won’t happen like it did last year.”
According to Patterson, winning the area championship was merely one of many of his squad’s goals. If his boys plan on advancing all the way to Montgomery for the state title game, he knows they can’t be satisfied just yet.
“We can’t be complacent,” the coach said. “We can’t sit back and say, ‘Alright, we’re good now because we scored a few runs in two games.” We’ve got to continue to try to get better everyday because there’s a lot of room for improvement.”
% Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 257 or at email@example.com.