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Russellville girls rout Guntersville to keep state tournament hopes alive

HUNTSVILLE - Russellville’s girls made it to day two of the North Regional Tournament, winning two out of three games on Thursday at the Metro Kiwanis Sportsplex and remaining in the hunt for a trip to Montgomery.
 
After getting seven strong innings from Megan Warhurst and a three-run homer from Autumn Logan in a 6-1 win over Scottsboro to open the day, the Lady Golden Tigers got bumped into the loser’s bracket with an 8-1 loss to Alexandria. They rebounded late Thursday night with a 12-1 rout of Guntersville in an elimination game, getting five innings of shutout ball from Krista Sikes and three hits and three runs scored from A.J. Taylor.
 
Russellville (23-19-2) will play another elimination game on Friday morning at 10:30 a.m. against Scottsboro (30-13-1), which bounced back from its first-round loss to the Lady Golden Tigers to rout Lee-Huntsville 16-0 and then edge Lawrence County 10-9 on Thursday night. The winner between Russellville and Scottsboro will advance to face the loser of Friday morning’s regional championship game between Ardmore and Alexandria. The winner of that loser’s bracket final would qualify for the state tournament.
 
Leading Guntersville 1-0 on Thursday night, the Lady Golden Tigers began to pull away with three runs in the top of the second. Karlie Moore led off with a single and stole second before moving to third on an infield hit by Jenna Whitfield. Moore scored on a bunt single by Makala O’Neal to make it 2-0. Russellville scored twice more in the inning on a bases-loaded walk to Sikes and an RBI groundout by Alivia Clemmons.
 
The lead grew to 5-0 in the top of the third when Taylor bunted for a hit, stole second, stole third and scored on a groundout by Whitfield. Sydney Burcham singled in the fourth inning and eventually scored on a steal of home to make it 6-0.
 
The Lady Golden Tigers tacked on another run in the fifth when Taylor singled to left, advanced to third on an error and then came home on Moore’s sacrifice fly. Russellville put the game away with five runs on four hits in the top of the seventh, including an RBI single by Taylor, an RBI double by Moore and an RBI single by O’Neal.
 
Sikes (10-10) held Guntersville to just two hits in five scoreless innings, striking out seven and walking two. Both of Guntersville’s hits off Sikes came in the bottom of the first, but she escaped the jam when Lauren Rogers made a nice running catch on a deep fly ball to right to end the inning. The only other time Guntersville mounted a threat was the bottom of the fourth, when Sikes pitched around an error and a walk with back-to-back strikeouts.
 
Taylor finished 3-for-4 with an RBI, three runs scored and two stolen bases. Moore went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and scored twice. O’Neal was 2-for-3 with two RBIs, and Burcham, Sikes, Logan and Whitfield each had one hit.
 
In previous action on Thursday:
 
Alexandria 8 Russellville 1
 
The Lady Golden Tigers trailed just 1-0 before Alexandria scored two runs in the top of the sixth and five more in the seventh to win going away and earn a spot in the regional championship game.
 
Krista Sikes surrendered a solo homer in the top of the first and took the loss. Megan Warhurst relieved in the top of the second and kept it a 1-0 game until the sixth. She wound up allowing six runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings, striking out four and walking two.
 
Sydney Burcham led Russellville at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI. A.J. Taylor went 2-for-3, and Lauren Rogers walked and scored a run.
 
Russellville 6 Scottsboro 1
 
The Lady Golden Tigers broke open Thursday’s first game with a big fifth inning highlighted by Autumn Logan’s three-run homer.
 
With Russellville leading 2-0, Sydney Burcham doubled to lead off the top of the fifth. A walk to Krista Sikes and a single by Alivia Clemmons loaded the bases, and Burcham scored on an error to make it 3-0. Logan followed with her sixth home run of the season, tying her with Burcham and Clemmons for the team lead and making it 6-0.
 
Megan Warhurst took care of the rest in the circle. Warhurst (5-5) retired seven straight batters during one mid-game stretch and finished with five strikeouts in seven innings. She held Scottsboro to one earned run on five hits, walking just one.
 
Scottsboro strung together four singles in the bottom of the sixth to score a run and cut the lead to 6-1, but Warhurst got the final out of the inning on a fly ball to leave the bases loaded and avoid further damage.
 
Burcham finished 3-for-4 with three doubles and two runs scored. Clemmons went 2-for-4 with a run, and Logan was 1-for-3 with the three-run homer and a walk. Sikes went 1-for-3 and scored twice.

 

 

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