Rainouts, blind umpires, dirty uniforms, apoplectic coaches.
There are plenty of things that you can almost always count on during high school baseball season in Alabama.
While we’re making this list we might as well add “RCHS going to the playoffs” because it has been a long time since that hasn’t happened.
The Tigers swept Horseshoe Bend last week in a series that determined the second and final playoff spot from 2A, Area 7, putting RCHS in the postseason for the eighth straight season dating back to 2013.
The only drama in the series came in game number one last Tuesday in Wedowee. The teams battled to a 2-2 tie through four innings before the RCHS broke through with two runs in the bottom of the fifth then held on for a 4-2 win.
Bryson Laney had an RBI single in the fifth to break the tie, and Noah Turner drove home the second run of the inning with a sacrifice fly to give the Tigers a little cushion.
The Tigers then ended the game in emphatic fashion, with a 5-4-3 double play in the top of the seventh.
Pitcher J.D. Till went the distance on the mound and held the Generals to two unearned runs on four hits, while striking out seven.
The series resumed on Thursday at Horseshoe Bend, with the Tigers needing to win one game of the doubleheader to secure their spot in the playoffs.
They did so in quick fashion, pasting the Generals 11-0 in five innings behind another solid performance on the mound, this time by Zack Caldwell. Caldwell allowed four hits and two walks in five innings to get the win, and he was backed up by some playoff-caliber defense as well.
Laney threw out a runner trying to steal in the first inning, deflating an early threat from the Generals when RCHS held just a 2-0 advantage.
RCHS led 5-0 in the second inning when Horseshoe Bend put their first two runners on with a double and a walk.
With runners on the corners the next batter hit a fly ball to center field that looked like it would turn into an RBI sacrifice fly. But center field Jace Dunn uncorked a spot-on throw to the plate from center field to cut down the runner and turn the fly ball into a double play.
Horseshoe Bend managed just two hits from that point on, and the rout was on for RCHS.
Turner went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI, and Jake Smith and Joshua Burns had two hits apiece, while Caldwell aided his cause with two RBI in a 1-for-4 performance.
In all the Tigers totaled 12 hits and capitalized on five Horseshoe Bend errors.
With the outcome of the series decided, the celebration continued into the third and final game for RCHS, which completed the sweep with a 16-10 victory.
The Tigers pounded out 17 hits in the finale, led by Burns, who went 3-for-5 with three RBI and three runs scored. Jerry Lee Sisson was 2-for-4 with four RBI, while Zack Caldwell, Gaven Caldwell and Till added two hits apiece.
RCHS will start its eighth straight playoff appearance on the road at Luverne Friday.
RCHS 21, Wadley 7
RCHS jumped out to an 11-0 lead after two innings. Wadley hung around though, cutting the lead to 15-7 in the fifth. But RCHS pounced for six runs in the top of the sixth to put the game out of reach in a 21-7 victory for the Tigers.
RCHS had 15 hits in the game, led by Payne Stitcher, who went 3-for-3 with four RBI. Johnathan Wilson added three hits and two RBI, while Jackson Pinkard, Jerry Lee Sisson and Jake Smith added two hits apiece.
Lakevion O’Neal went 2-for-4 with a double and three RBI for Wadley.
RCHS will enter this week’s playoff game with a record of 14-10.
Wellborn 10, Woodland 7
A five-run first inning for Wellborn put Woodland in a hole that the Bobcats never fully dug out of in a 10-7 Woodland loss last Tuesday. It was the only game of the week for Woodland, which now will turn its attention to its first-round playoff series against Central Hayneville this weekend.
Tate Bradford went 2-for- 4 with a double, a triple and an RBI against Wellborn as part of a 10-hit Woodland attack. Dalton Bolan was 3-for-4 in the game, and Brock Edwards had a triple and two RBI.
Woodland, which will enter the postseason as the 1A, Area 7 champions, fell to 8-11 on the season with the loss.
Horseshoe Bend 12, Wadley 0
Wadley fell to 1-17 on the season with a 12-0 loss to Horseshoe Bend Monday. An 8-run fourth inning for the Generals proved to be the difference in the game.
Jacob Marable had the only hit for Wadley in the contest.