MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Hartselle High School rallied for three runs in the last two innings to beat three-time defending champion Spanish Fort Saturday morning 3-2 and claimed 2013 the Class 5A State Baseball Championship at Riverwalk Stadium.
The championship was the eighth baseball title in Hartselle school history and was the 907th win over veteran Coach William Booth’s career – all at Hartselle.
Spanish Fort pitcher Jesse McCord (9-2) held the Tigers (44-15) at bay for five innings as the Toros (38-9) built a 2-0 lead. Coach Brent Boyd’s team got both runs in the bottom of the second off Tigers starter Tillman Landers (9-1). Will Luft singled, Reagan Eubanks walked and both came around to score. Matt Hall’s sacrifice fly plated Luft and McCord’s single drove in Eubanks.
Left-hander Brady Wallace (3-2) relieved Landers to start the third and pitched four shutout inning through the sixth to get the win. He yielded two hits and struck out three. Hartselle tied the game in the top of the sixth when shortstop Brett Blackwood drew a walk to start the rally. Catcher Chris Brown followed with a single to advance Blackwood to third. The Class 5A Series MVP then scored on a wild pitch and pinch runner Tanner Oakes scored on Blake Slayton’s single.
Blackwood delivered again in the seventh. Deacon Aldridge reached first on an error, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Blackwood’s single. The hit was the 103rd of the season for Blackwood, a new AHSAA single season state record.
Colton Ord then pitched the bottom of the seventh to notch his first save of the season.
Brown had three of Hartselle’s six hits. Easton Chenault, Blackwood and Slayton had the other three.
Rob Perteet had two hits and McCord had a single and RBI for Spanish Fort.
The 44 wins marked the fifth time Hartselle has eclipsed the 40-win mark in a season. Booth, now 907-345, is the winningest coach in AHSAA state history, and the eight baseball state championships also ranks first among Class 5A schools.