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Hartselle drops Game 1 to Hillcrest, needs two wins for state title – The Hartselle Enquirer

Hartselle fell 14-3 in five innings to Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa on Thursday in Game 1 of the Class 6A state baseball series. While that may have implications for some teams, it’s nothing the Tigers haven’t experienced before.

“I think right now we’re just worried about getting something to eat,” senior JoJo Williamson said. “That was just Game 1, and it’s done. There’s nothing we can do about it now. We’re going to get some food, get some rest, and we’re going to regroup.”

The Tigers’ confidence is understandable. Last week, Hartselle lost Game 1 of the Class 6A semifinals to Oxford 11-1, but rebounded to win its next two games.

“We’re staying positive because that game is over,” senior Cade Miles said. “We’re just taking things game by game, field by field.”

The first at bat on Thursday was a sign of how the game would go, as Hillcrest led off with a solo home run. Hartselle tied the game in the bottom of the first with Brody Leathers scoring on an error, but that would be as close as the game could get.

Hillcrest scored two runs in the third inning before blowing the game open in the fourth with five runs. The Patriots scored six more in the fifth.

Hartselle added two runs in the fifth, with Cade Miles and Cam Palahach driving in runs on sacrifice flies.

Lawson Williams and Asher Doepel led the Tigers with two goals each.

It’s an emotional time for Hartselle as the Tigers mourn the death of former head coach William Booth, who passed away on Wednesday. Coaches and players were quick to say this was no excuse.

“It’s a tough situation, but we’re just trying to focus on ourselves,” Hartselle coach Jake Miles said. “He (Booth) would be frustrated if he knew we were talking about him and not the match. If he was here after that game, he would probably take us to practice.”

Hartselle will take on Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa on Friday at 10 a.m. for Game 2 at Jacksonville State University. Game 3 will follow immediately if necessary.

Hartselle will need to win both to win his 10th state championship.

“Everyone says you have to win two tomorrow, but you can’t win two if you don’t win one,” Jake Miles said. “Our goal is that we have to win one tomorrow, and after we win one we can focus on the other one.

“We’re just like any other team: we’ve had good days and we’ve had bad days, but when we’ve had bad days we’ve always picked ourselves up off the mat and I expect us to do that. same thing tomorrow.”