Marc Ponder couldn’t find many things to complain about when looking at the score book.

Three games. Thirty-six hits. One earned run allowed.

No wonder Ponder was pleased. That’s the recipe for success …

… And Cullman enjoyed plenty of it Tuesday.

With hot bats and solid defense, Cullman steamrolled through the competition at the Class 5A, Area 12 tournament.

Playing its third game of the day, Cullman capped off the tournament with its most impressive performance of the day: a 17-0 blowout of Walker. That win gave the Bearcats their second straight area championship and a top seed in this weekend’s North Central Regional.

“We wanted another area championship. That was one of our goals,” Ponder said. “But even more importantly, we wanted a good seed in the regional. You always want a good seed this time of year.”

The championship game wasn’t even close.

Cullman took a four-run lead in the first inning when T.J. Huddleston hit a three-run homer. The Bearcats added five more in the second.

Jenny Haney and Erin Lopez extended the lead to 6-0 with a pair of RBI singles. Huddleston and Abbie Knight followed with two more RBI singles.

Walker never recovered.

Elizabeth Buchanan got the start on the mound. She held Walker hitless though two shutout innings.

Bailey Holland was just as dominant in relief. She also held the Vikings hitless in two shutout innings.

Walker only had two hits in the game. Both of them came in the fifth inning when freshman right-hander Sharon Carlisle was pitching.

Carlisle may have given up two hits, but she still managed to preserve the shutout by pitching out of a bases-loaded situation with one out.

The pitching and defense was solid, but what caught Ponder’s attention was how his team hit the ball.

In the championship game, Cullman pounded out 17 hits.

“We’ve been solid in the field all year,” Ponder said. “It’s just that our sticks have been cold here lately.

“But they woke up tonight. We really hit the ball well … did a lot of good things offensively. That’s a good sign since we’re going to have some tough games this weekend in the regional.”

Cullman opened the tournament with a 10-0 drubbing of Brewer. The Bearcats followed with a 6-1 win over Walker in the semifinals.

That game wasn’t as lopsided, but Cullman still posted big offensive numbers — pounding out 10 hits.

Buchanan recorded the win, holding Walker to six hits while striking out eight.

Kayla Dean crossed the plate in the first inning to give Cullman a one-run lead. The Bearcats added another in the second.

After McKenzie Fetner reached on an error, Lesley Cork followed with an RBI single. That gave the Bearcats a 2-0 lead heading into the third inning.

Cullman scored four runs in the sixth inning.

Cork pushed Fetner across the plate with an RBI single, and Haney followed with a two-RBI double. Breeana Goodwin also had an RBI single.

Cullman travels to Vestavia Hills for the Class 5A North Central Regional this weekend. The eight-team double-elimination tournament begins Friday at Liberty Park.

Justin Graves can be reached by phone at 734-2131, ext. 257 or by e-mail at

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