Wetumpka was one out away from advancing to the Class 6A Round of 16 on Thursday night but Benjamin Russell fought back to force a decisive game. After being rained out on Friday, the Wildcats returned to Wetumpka on Saturday to grab an 8-4 victory after grabbing an early lead and riding Ryan Slaten’s strong start on the mound into the second round.
After four 2-out runs won Game 2, No. 10 Benjamin Russell (23-11) opened the third game in the same style. Brett Pitts reached base after being hit by a pitch, setting up Brock Elliott’s 2-run homer in the first inning to give his team a 2-0 lead.
The Wildcats added two more runs on a single by Ryan Willis and Slaten came to the mound for the first time with a 4-run lead. Wetumpka pulled one back in the bottom of the inning with an RBI from Mason Elmore.
Neither team could add any runs across the next two innings but Benjamin Russell put the game away in the fourth inning. The Wildcats got a 2-out, 2-run double from Joe Young to extend the lead to 7-1 and take much of the life out of the home dugout.
Benjamin Russell added its final run in the fifth inning on a sacrifice fly by Wilson Hays. The Wildcats had 10 batters reach base by an error, hit by pitch or walk in the game and six of those 10 came around to score.
Ryan Slaten pitched five innings for the win, allowing just four hits and one run while striking out five. Brett Pitts, who got the win in Game 2, closed out the final two innings, allowing three unearned runs but striking out three.
Benjamin Russell will play host to Northview next week with the dates and times to be decided. Wetumpka finishes its season 25-13.