Ariton returns to the Final Four

Published 9:19 am Monday, May 9, 2022

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The Ariton Purple Cats are headed to the Class 2A State Baseball Semifinals this week against a familiar foe in the GW Long Rebels.

Ariton and Long faced off in the 2A semifinals last season, as well, with Long edging Ariton in the best-of-three series before falling to Westbrook-Christian in the state championship game. Ariton and Long are no strangers this season either as the two schools were the top two teams in Class 2A, Area 3. Ariton was swept by Long in the regular season 5-0 in the first game on May 7 and 6-1 on May 8.

In the quarterfinals, though, Ariton continued their dominant postseason play by sweeping Fayetteville in two games to earn the return to the semifinals on Friday. In game one, Ariton beat Fayetteville 8-2 with Landon Tyler going 3-for-3 at the plate with a double, an RBI and a run. Hughes Hammock also went 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Tyler pitched all seven innings and struck out four batters, while giving up four hits and one earned run.

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Game two was more of the same as Ariton once again never trailed and picked up a 13-3 win to eliminate Fayetteville and move on to the Final Four. In game two, Hammock went 3-for-4 at the plate with two RBIs and two runs, while Lawson Leger went 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs. Caden Collier also hit a solo home run in the win. Phenix Griffin pitched five innings and fanned three batters, while giving up five hits and three earned runs. Leger struck out one batter and gave up no hits or runs in his one inning on the mound.

Ariton and Long will meet in Skipperville in the semifinals matchup on May 12 for a doubleheader beginning at 4:30 p.m. with the second game after. If a third game is needed it will take place on May 13. The winner of that series will meet the winner of the other semifinal series, between Decatur Heritage and Mars Hill Bible, in the state championship on May 16.