Russellville completes the three-peat; wins 5A Championship

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Russellville High School beat Faith Academy 7-4 in game three of the AHSAA 2017 Class 5A State Baseball Championship Series at Riverwalk Stadium to captured the Golden Tigers’ third straight state title. Both teams also met in the finals in 2016.
    Coach Chris Heaps’ Tigers (38-10) took 1-0 lead in the series Wednesday night with a 9-1 win over the Rams. However,  Faith Academy (30-8) forced game three with a dramatic 8-7 win in game two at Riverwalk Stadium Thursday morning.
     Russellville took control of the third and final game of the best 2-of-3 series plating four runs in the bottom of the first inning to take control.8-7 win in game two. The Tigers picked up another run in the fourth and led 7-0 with two more runs in the fourth. Coach Matt Seymour’s Rams (30-8) clawed back into the contest with two runs in the sixth and seventh innings, but it was too little too late.
     Starting pitcher Skylar Holland (6-3) pitched six strong innings to get the win for Russellville to get the game three win. He pitched in relief in game two and got the loss. Holland allowed five hits, two runs, walked one and struck out four before he reached his 120-pitch limit for the day.  Judd Ward and Rudy Fernandez hurled the seventh inning to close out the game. Fernandez got the final two outs to get the save.
    Class 5A Championship Series MVP Cody Greenhill, who pitched the 9-1 win in game one, had two hits and two RBIs to earn MVP honors. His clutch hit in the fourth  gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead.  Ward, Houston Kitterman and Tom Barkley Scott also had two hits. Colin Garrison also slugged a triple and scored two runs.
     Braxton Bell, who pitched five innings in relief, had a double and single and two RBIs for Faith Academy.  Chris Sargent and Brooks Carlson also had two hits.
    Leading 5-1 Game 2, the Rams gave up six runs in the fifth and sixth inning and trailed Russellville  7-5 heading into the top of the seventh. Faith plated three runs in the top of the inning and blanked the Tigers in the bottom of the seventh to seal an 8-7 win.
     Bell (2-2 pitched the final 1 2/3 innings to get the win. He allowed one hit, walked one and faced just six batters.   Skylar Holland (5-3) pitched the final inning for Russellville and got the loss. Starter Chad Wray went six innings for the Tigers allowing six hits, five runs and striking out nine. Faith starter Gabe Shepard pitched four innings, gave up six hits and five runs and whiffed seven.
       Carlson had a double, single and RBI to pace Faith. Catcher Christian Waltman also had a double. Holland had three hits and three RBIs to pace Russellville. Scott and Garrison also had two hits each. Scott also had two RBIs.


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