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MONDAY, MAY 21, 2007
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Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa, Cullman take state baseball titles

The Associated Press

MONTGOMERY — Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa defeated Russell County 19-4 as J.T. Watkins made the catch in right field to end Saturday’s Class 6A championship.

The Patriots, who lost the opening game in the best-of-three series, routed Russell County 12-8 and 19-4 to take the crown. Along the way to the title, Hillcrest beat Austin in the opening round.

Hillcrest (44-20) used a 10-run fifth inning to rally in the first game. Then the Patriots scored nine runs in the first inning and five in the second to build an insurmountable lead in the finale.

“Somebody needs to pinch me, because I need to wake up,” said Hillcrest coach Todd Agee. “It doesn’t seem real to me. It’ll seem real tomorrow.”

John David Smelser, one of 11 Hillcrest seniors, was named the most valuable player. Smelser pitched a complete game in the 12-8 victory. He went 3-for-3 in the second game and drove in seven runs.

Russell County (44-11) won the opener 5-1 on Friday.

Class 5A

Cullman 10, Bibb County 1: John Nyquist drove in two runs and scored three times and Matt Drake tossed an eight-hitter, lifting Cullman to a 10-1 win over Bibb County on Saturday for the 5A state championship.

Cullman (48-7) swept the best-of-three series to claim its first state title since 2002.

Nyquist went 2-for-2 and Blake Huddleston had two RBIs on a walk, sacrifice and hit batsman.

Chris Cain went 2-for-4 with a double.

Cannon McDonald led Bibb County (35-10) at the plate, going 2-for-3 with an RBI.

Class 4A

Childersburg 15, Oneonta 14: Jordan Connell scored four runs — two in his team’s 10-run sixth inning — to help lead Childersburg to a win over Oneonta and snag the 4A state title Friday.

Childersburg (38-6) beat Oneonta 14-6 on Thursday, and Friday’s narrow win eliminated the need for a third game in the best-of-three series.

Oneonta (32-14) took an early lead, ahead 4-1 after the first inning, and led 10-4 at the end of the fifth inning. But Childersburg came back with 10 runs in the sixth inning to pull ahead 14-10.

Oneonta rallied in the seventh, tying the score 14-14. But then Oneonta gave up an unearned run as Childersburg’s Jake Tubbs scored, winning the game and clinching the state title.

State baseball, softball champs

Baseball

Class 6A: Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa

Class 5A: Cullman

Class 4A: Childersburg

Class 3A: Hokes Bluff

Class 2A: Leroy

Class 1A: Hackleburg

Softball

Class 6A: Baker

Class 5A: GulfShores

Class 4A: Alabama Christian

Class 3A: Leeds

Class 2A: Oakman

Class 1A: Kinston

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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