Walker set for No. 1 Cullman

Five Division-I signees in CHS starting lineup

By JOHNATHAN BENTLEY, Eagle Sports Editor
Posted 4/26/17

Cullman is coming to town.

And the No. 1 Bearcats are bringing their five Division I baseball signees with them.

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Walker set for No. 1 Cullman

Five Division-I signees in CHS starting lineup


Cullman is coming to town.

And the No. 1 Bearcats are bringing their five Division I baseball signees with them.

Walker coach Pat Ware said his squad will be prepared for the challenge in their Class 6A second-round playoff series set to begin with a 5 p.m. double header on Friday at Valley Park. If a third game is needed, the teams play at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

“I think our guys will be ready. They are really excited for the challenge.” Ware said. “It’s exciting to play a team of Cullman’s caliber. We’ll be ready to go toe to toe with them and see what happens. Anything can happen.”

Walker enters the series coming off a first-round sweep of Muscle Shoals.

The Vikings won 14-4 and 6-3.

“Our guys showed up, played well and competed,” Ware said. “One thing we were worried about as a staff was that on a day-in, day-out basis, we hadn’t been able to bring it all together. Last Friday, we were locked in and focused. If we play like we did last week, we will give ourselves a chance.”

Walker freshman Kaden Shelton had a breakout series against the Trojans, finishing 2 for 6 with two runs and four RBIs at the plate. He also picked up the save in game two.

At the plate, Slade Harbin was 3 for 7 with two runs and four RBIs, Cam Robinson was 4 for 8 with two runs and an RBI and Zac Durham was 2 for 7 with a double, two runs and three RBIs.

Cullman has won 11 of its last 12 games including a double-header sweep of McAdory in the opening round of the Class 6A playoffs.

The Bearcats are paced by its Division-I signees — Noah Fondren (Alabama), Jacob Heatherly (Alabama), Carter Bowen (Auburn), Owen Lovell (Mississippi State) and Levi Thomas (Troy). Junior Will Morris is a Mississippi State verbal commitment.

The Bearcats have lost just three games to in-state teams.

They fell to both Buckhorn and Sparkman in February and lost to Hartselle earlier this month.

Cullman and Walker last met in the third-round of the Class 5A playoffs in 2015 with the Bearcats earning 4-0 and 7-0 wins.

“Cullman and Walker has always been a rivalry. On the baseball side, it’s a good rivalry. We get after each other, play hard and shake hands after it’s over. (Brent) Patterson and (Shannon) Fondren do a great job over there. They are great guys,” said Ware, who is expecting a packed house on Friday.

“We need a big crowd (on Friday) to support our guys. We’ve played in Atlanta and Gulf Shores and they’ve done a great job representing Jasper throughout the season.”


No. 6 Sumiton Chr. at No. 2 Sweet Water

The No. 6 Sumiton Christian Eagles hit the road for the second-round of the Class 1A playoffs on Friday, making the 150-mile trek to Marengo County to face the Sweet Water Bulldogs.

The best-of-three series starts with a doubleheader at 4 p.m. today.

Both teams rolled through the first round. Second-ranked Sweet Water (24-7) took care of Winterboro in a lopsided sweep, winning 23-0 and 22-6.

Sumiton Christan (24-7) piled up 30 runs in its double header sweep of Red Level, winning 17-4 and 13-0.

Grant Shepherd paced the Eagles against Red Level, going 5 for 7 at the plate with five runs and seven RBIs. He also picked up the win in game 2.

Luke McDonald was 4 for 6 at the plate with three runs and six RBIs, Caleb Headrick was 4 for 8 with five runs and three RBIs, Jacob Headrick was 3 for 7 with four runs and two RBIs and Payton Alexander was 2 for 4 with five runs and two RBIs.

Shepherd, Alexander, McDonald and Jacob Jones each hit home runs in the series.

Coach Lance Blair’s team has averaged 8.9 runs a game over its last 11 contests.