% Cullman 2, Pelham 1 (eight innings): Thompson did all the heavy lifting for the Bearcats in the nightcap, striking out 14 on the mound and crushing two home runs, including a walk-off laser beam in the eighth inning.
The national prospect went to the plate looking for a breaking ball but didn’t seem to mind the first-pitch fastball that came his way, blasting it over the left field fence in a hurry. Thompson hit his first home run in the fourth inning, a towering shot that sailed over the scoreboard in right field.
“I knew it right away when I hit the ball,” he said of his game-winning at-bat. “I was pretty excited, though. Just glad to get the game over with.”
Thompson, the reigning 5A Player and Pitcher of the Year, picked up right where he left off, baffling Panther batters right and left with his blazing heat and sweeping curve. He already had 12 strikeouts through seven innings but managed to add two more in the extra frame.
Collins and Walker had Cullman’s only other hits on the night.
The 2-0 Bearcats won’t play again until Saturday, when they’ll travel to Southside High for one game against the hosts and another versus Pelham.
The 6A Panthers handily defeated Oxford 11-2 before picking up the late-inning loss against the Black and Gold.
% Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 257 or at email@example.com.