Prep Baseball Playoffs: No. 1 Cullman ends Walker's season with sweep

No. 2 Sweet Water eliminates No. 6 Sumiton Christian

The top-ranked Cullman Bearcats (33-7) had few problems getting across the plate in Friday’s second round Class 6A playoff series at Valley Park. The Walker Vikings, meanwhile, struggled to find offense, falling to Cullman 17-0 and 10-0 to end the 2017 season. In game one, Chase Cross got the loss in the three and one-third inning appearance for Walker, giving up seven earned runs, five hits, six walks and striking out five batters. Ryan Childers pitched the final one and two-third innings in relief, giving up seven earned runs, six hits and a walk. Alabama signee Jacob Heatherly earned the win for Cullman, surrendering two hits and a walk, while striking out six batters. Will Herring and Kaden Shelton got the Vikings two hits in the contest. Alabama signee Noah Fondren lead the Bearcats’ bats with a 2 for 4 performance, including two runs scored, six RBIs and a grand slam home run. Cullman scored a run in the top of the first inning and followed with a five-run performance in the top of the second inning for a 6-0 lead. Following a scoreless third inning, the Bearcats crossed the plate for two runs in the top of the fourth inning to pull further ahead, 8-0. Cullman punched-in nine runs in the top of the fifth inning, capped by Fondren’s grand slam home run for the 17-0 final. In Game 2, Luke Ferrell pitched three innings in the 10-0 loss for the Vikings, giving up five earned runs, five hits, three walks and striking out a batter. Shelton pitched an inning in relief, surrendering two earned runs, two hits and a walk. Will Dobbs closed the final two-thirds innings, giving up an earned run, two hits, a walk and recording one strikeout. Troy signee Levi Thomas gave up a hit in four innings in the victory for Cullman, with one walk and four strikeouts. Kade Williams pitched the final inning in relief, surrendering a walk. Taylor Whitley recorded the Vikings’ lone hit. Mississippi State signee Owen Lovell led the Bearcats at the plate with a 3 for 3 performance, including three runs scored and an RBI.

Cullman got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning with a pair of runs for the 2-0 advantage. Both teams went scoreless in the second inning before the Bearcats crossed the plate twice in the bottom of the third inning to remain in command, 4-0. Five runs crossed the plate for Cullman in the bottom of the fourth inning to allow the Bearcats to extend their lead to 9-0. The game ended in the bottom of the fifth inning with a walk-off single by the Bearcats for the 10-0 win. The Vikings finish the season with a 19-19 record. Walker got a first-round sweep of Muscle Shoals to advance to Friday’s second-round showdown. --- No. 2 Sweet Water sweeps No. 6 Sumiton Christian Second-ranked Sweet Water earned two shutout victories over the sixth-ranked Sumiton Christian Eagles on Friday, 6-0 and 10-0, to eliminate the Eagles from postseason play. In the opener, the teams took a scoreless tie into the fifth inning. The Bulldogs struck for all six of their runs in the bottom of the fifth. Joe Hicks took the loss for the Eagles, allowing six runs, four earned on three hits and six walks. Chandler Overton and Blaine Sharpston each pitched a scoreless inning in relief. At the plate, Nick Collins and Grant Shepherd had hits. John Thomas Etheridge led Sweet Water, going 1 for 3 with a run and two RBIs. The Bulldogs (26-7) took a 2-0 lead into the fifth inning in game two before erupting for six runs in the top of the fifth to push the lead to 8-0. Shepherd took the loss, giving up eight runs, two earned, on 10 hits and a walk while striking out five in 4 1/3 innings. Caleb Headrick, Andrew Tubbs and Wright each pitched in relief. Collins and Payton Alexander had hits for the Eagles. For Sweet Water, Jonah Smith was 3 for 5 with three runs and an RBI while Sasha Smith was 2 for 5 with two runs. Sumiton Christian ends the year with a 24-9 mark.The Eagles beat Red Level in the first round to advance to Friday afternoon’s series.