By Stan Veitch/Sports Correspondent
As the top of the seventh inning was about to start in the nightcap of Etowah High’s 1-0 loss to Russellville on Friday (Apr. 24), several Blue Devils fans yelled, “It’s not over.”
Their wish got as far as third base, but it soon was over to the tune of 1-0 in favor of the Golden Tigers.
Eli Dunn led off the frame with a walk, and then went to second on a wild pitch. He tried for third on another wild pitch but was thrown out.
If not for a first-inning run that scored on a sacrifice fly, the game probably would’ve gone into extra innings, as both starting pitchers (Dunn and Russellville’s William Green) pitched great games. The No. 5 Blue Devils managed only five hits and the sixth-ranked Golden Tigers got only three.
Dunn thwarted Russellville’s first-inning threat, as he struck out one batter and induced a weak grounder from the next to end the inning with a Tiger on third.
Russellville’s Austin Kitterman led off the second with a single and later tried to score on a fly ball to center field, but Paul Ruiz threw a strike that nailed the runner at the plate.
The Golden Tigers threatened to up the lead again in the sixth, as Reeder Smith led off with a triple. However, Dunn struck out the next two batters and got the third out on a grounder to first base.
Both Dunn and Green pitched complete games.
The win sent Russellville to this weekend’s third round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Class 5A baseball playoffs. Etowah ended its season at 26-11.
The first game of the doubleheader saw the Golden Tigers defeat the Devils, 16-3, in five innings.
Russellville scored seven in the first inning and Etowah never recovered.
The Blue Devils scored their three runs in the second inning. Braxton Wood led off with a single and stole second. He went to third on a Dunn groundout and scored on Andy Noles’ single. Noles stole second and scored on a Jacob Bobo single. On the throw, Bobo went all the way to third. Bobo scored on a single by Dustin Robinson.
After that inning, Etowah was held hitless by Cody Greenhill, who pitched a complete game.
Russellville added four runs in the third and scored five more in the fourth.
Etowah head coach Larry Foster declined comment after the series.