- Cullman, Alabama

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March 4, 2013


WEST POINT — Defending-champion Vinemont started off its trek for a second-straight Cullman County baseball title on Monday, defeating Good Hope 5-3 to advance into the winners’ bracket.

“We played a couple of really good innings today,” coach Chad Shannon said. “We lost it a little at the end, though. We are going to have to focus on finishing better.”

The Raiders (2-3) took a quick lead on Eagles’ starter Duncan Hopper, as Preston Calvert laced a run-scoring double to left field to stake his team to an early 1-0 lead.

Vinemont (5-0) responded in the third inning, taking a 2-1 lead on a two-RBI single from Teddy Drake.

Following a shaky start, Hopper settled down in the game’s middle frames. The senior threw six innings of work, allowing just one earned run, while allowing five hits and striking out six batters.

“Duncan threw a great game for us,” Shannon said. “On the offensive side, we did some small ball things that helped us win as well.”

The Eagles were able to give themselves some breathing room in the fourth inning.

After a single, a walk and a sacrifice bunt, Vinemont’s Nathan Persall delivered the key blow, stroking a one-out single into left field that brought home two runs to extend the Eagles’ cushion to 5-1. He also scored a run and stole a base.

“It’s Nathan’s first year on varsity,” Shannon said. “He’s still got a lot to work on but that was a good hit.”

Good Hope threatened in the bottom of the seventh, getting runners at the corners with nobody out. The Raiders were able to get those runners home on an Vinemont error and a sacrifice fly, but were unable to do any further damage.

The Eagles will move on to face Fairview today at 4 p.m. after the Aggies defeated Holly Pond.

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