Cullman Bearcats received a warm welcome from students and fans in a "Meet the Bearcats" spectacular Friday evening at Oliver Woodard Stadium.
In six days, the Bearcats will begin the 2019 season, traveling to Ki-Ro/Gambrell Field to face the Walker Vikings.
The Cullman Bearcats and Cullman Cyclone programs were introduced, as well as the middle school, freshmen, junior varsity and varsity teams.
The Cullman High marching band performed the National Anthem and a few songs to provide a feverish atmosphere, with plenty of optimism coming from those attending the event.
Former Cullman coach Mark Britton attended the celebration. Britton worked several seasons together with Oscar Glasscock. Glasscock enters his first season as head coach of his alma mater.
Cullman's home opener will be in Week 3 when the Bearcats deal with the Decatur Red Raiders in a 6A, Region 7 assignment.
All Cullman games will kick off at 7:00 p.m.
Sportspage photos of Meet the Bearcats, by Johnny Thornton.
Coach: Oscar Glasscock (1st year)
2018: 3-7, 1-4 in 6A, R 7
Quotes: "It's real important for our seniors to have a good experience. This is their fourth head coach in four years. We are looking for all seniors to contribute. Most of them do have experience on Friday nights. A lot of our juniors are still learning the game. It's all about each player doing their job, then moving on to the next play.
"We are modernizing the weight program and strength training. We open with Jasper. You have be on top of your game to play them. The job of a head coach for me is working on small groups. We are taking steps in the right direction. It's my chance to give back to the place that gave me an opportunity to coach."
August 22 - @ Jasper, August 30 - @ Mortimer Jordan, September 6 - Decatur
September 12 - @ Columbia, September 20 - Albertville, September 27 - Hueytown,
October 4 - @ Athens, October 11 - @ Muscle Shoals, October 18 - Hartselle,
October 25 - Fort Payne.
Bearcats news & notes:
Cullman will be first opponent for Jasper on new artificial turf at Ki-Ro/Gambrell Field.
Cullman will be first opponent for Mortimer Jordan on new artificial turf at Jimmie Trotter Field. Game will be August 30.
Cullman plays in Jasper, formerly known as Walker HS, for the first time since 2013.
Cullman will face the No. 3 ranked team in the 5A rankings in the opener August 22.
Cullman's regional game vs. Columbia will be September 12 at Milton Frank Stadium in Huntsville.
Series with Jasper (Walker) is 34-34-2 all time.
Series with Hartselle will be 98th meeting. Hartselle holds 48-45-4 advantage.
Cullman is 7-3 in season opener in the last 10 years (Dating back to 2009).
Cullman will end the regular season in October for 2nd consecutive year. Bearcats host Fort Payne October 25, playing 10 straight weeks without a bye.
Cullman will open the month of October with back to back road games in 6A, Region 7. Play at Athens on the 4th and visit Muscle Shoals the 11th.
From 2010 to 2018, Cullman is 61-41, 7 winning seasons.
August 22 - Volleyball at Jasper 2:00
August 22 - Football at Jasper 7:00
August 27 - Volleyball vs. Decatur 4:30
August 30 - Football at Mortimer Jordan 7:00
September 3 - Volleyball at Athens 4:30
September 5 - Volleyball at Hazel Green 4:30
September 6 - Football vs. Decatur 7:00
September 10 - Volleyball vs. Addison 4:30
September 12 - Football at Columbia 7:00
September 12 - Volleyball vs. Holly Pond 4:00
September 12 - Volleyball vs. Cordova 6:00
Cullman High School rolled out the welcome mat for the Madison Academy Mustangs in an Offseason Team Activity (OTA) Tuesday at Oliver Woodard Stadium.
The Bearcats are utilizing the opportunity to get in as much work during the summer before they officially begin fall practice on August 5.
Under first-year coach Oscar Glasscock, the Bearcats experienced a series of drills vs. a very strong 5A program from the Madison area.
Cullman has gone through three OTAs in the summer season.
The Bearcats will kick off the 2019 schedule with an assignment at Jasper High School on Thursday, August 22.
AHSAA 6A, Area 14 Soccer (G)
At Ogle Stadium - Decatur:
Cullman 3 0 - 3 (13-2-2, 3-0)
Decatur 0 0 - 0 (6-7, 1-2)
Cullman: Abigail Branham goal at 35:17 (1st)
Cullman: Pia Muri goal at 12:25 (1st)
Cullman: Ashlei Bryant goal at 8:53 (1st)
SPORTSPAGE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Gracie Barksdale - Cullman GK: 0 goals allowed, stopped 13 shot attempts.
FLASH NOTES: Cullman claimed the regular season title in 6A, Area 14 Friday in the River City, spreading out the scoring in the first half.
Barksdale then stepped into a key role of keeping Decatur off the scoreboard. She turned away two shots on goal in the final minute of the first half and was able to maintain a shutout during the second half, stopping nine shots near the Cullman goal in the final 40:00.
Decatur's goalie, Mary Pistorius, was able to prevent Cullman from extending the lead by turning back eight shots in the second half. The Lady Bearcats had a great opportunity with 28:00 remaining in the match, when they had three consecutive shots right in front of Pistorius. One bounced off the top of the goal and she turned away turned other good shots.
Cullman's final game of the half, which turned out to be the last for the day, was first shot by Mary Lunsford. It hit the top of goal. Bryant was able to gather the rebound and drive it past Pistorius for a 3-goal advantage.
Aside from the goals by Branham, Muri and Bryant, coach Jacob Brown got a good performance as well by Addie Echols, Lunsford, Jade Sanford, Abby Morrow, Emily Moss, Madisyn Meherg and Hannah Bircheat.
Cullman's undefeated streak is now at 10 games. The Lady Bearcats have eight victories and two ties in this span. The last time Cullman was defeated came on February 25 in a 2-1 setback to Fort Payne.
Up next for Cullman: Vs. Huntsville Monday 6:30 p.m.
Photo 1: Cullman coach Jacob Brown talks to team prior to match with Decatur Friday.
Photo 2: Cullman's Abigail Branham scores a goal to give her team a 1-0 lead.
Photo 3: Cullman's Pia Muri, Decatur's Leah South in first half action at Ogle Stadium.
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton
AHSAA 6A, Area 14 Softball
At Cullman High Ball Park:
Decatur 2 2 9 1 0 - 14 (6-11, 2-2)
Cullman 0 0 2 0 1 - 3 (3-7, 0-3)
WP: Madison Murphy
LP: Sydney Holder
TIME OF GAME: 1:43
SPORTSPAGE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Neelie Miller of Decatur, 1B, 3 RBIs.
FLASH NOTES: In a steady shower, Decatur broke a close area game with Cullman by a 9-run third inning, pounding out single after single after single. Miller had a bases-clearing single that was the key hit of the inning.
That was all the Red Raiders needed to finish sweeping the Lady Bearcats. Decatur got a 7-2 victory on the home diamond two days before.
Cullman was able to pick up two runs against Murphy when Alex Stansell doubled, driving in Haley Shannon who singled and MeKenna Kline who reached on a base hit. But a call to the bull pen was made by Decatur as left hander Jenna Russell got Savanna Davis and Ashlon Heatherly on outs to end the inning.
Shannon relieved Holder and allowed Decatur just one run in the Red Raiders' final two innings.
A ground out by Stansell in the fifth plated the third and final run for Cullman. Russell was able to put away the Lady Bearcats, getting the game to end by the run rule at 6:13 p.m.
Up next for Cullman: Vs. Brewer Monday 4:00 p.m.
Photo 1: Cullman's Savanna Davis takes a pitch outside in the 2nd inning.
Photo 2: Cullman's Ashlen Heatherly ready to run from 1st base vs. Decatur
Photo 3: Cullman's Alex Stansell frames a pitch for a strike to Decatur's Raegan McNeill.
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton
At West Point Ball Park
Cullman 0 1 1 0 2 1 7 - 12 (12-10)
West Point 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 1 (10-13)
WP: Dylon Wallace
LP: Levi Scott
TIME OF GAME: 1:47
SPORTSPAGE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Dylon Wallace of Cullman, 2-3, 2B, 3 runs scored, 2 SB, 7 innings, 1 run, 5 hits, 6 Ks.
Cullman 1 2 3 0 0 2 2 - 10 (13-10)
West Point 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 0 (10-14)
WP: Blake Lambert
LP: Aubry Cleghorn
TIME OF GAME: 1:53
SPORTSPAGE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Nicholas Braswell of Cullman, 1-3, 2 runs scored, 7 putouts, 1 assist.
FLASH NOTES: In a rare opportunity for the two schools to tangle on the diamond, Cullman gained a sweep of West Point, cooling off the Warriors on their home turf. West Point was 7-1 at home entering the twinbill.
In the past two days, the Bearcats had been victorious in four decisions on the West Point diamond. The Bearcats split a 6A, Area 14 doubleheader Thursday with Decatur, taking the nightcap 7-3 after losing the opener 5-3.
A 2-1 lead for the Bearcats in game one going into the fifth, got extended thanks to one swing from the bat of Ben Hollis. Hollis entered the fifth zero for two against Scott witjh two strikeouts.
He changed that by taking the first pitch, hitting it into the right-center gap, scoring Peyton Colvard and Wallace. That sent the Bearcats ahead 4-1.
The turning point was the seventh with Cullman sending seven runners in. With one out, Wallace was hit by a pitch from reliever Will Cochran.
Cochran's misfortune continued as he walked Hollis, Cooper Bowen and Easton Dean in succession. The walk to Dean forced home Wallace.
Niklas Fondern followed with a bases-clearing double and a two-run triple by Brady Patterson were the key hits to help break the game open.
Wallace was effective in going the distance, allowing the Warriors one hit in the final four innings, a seventh inning double by Eli Folds.
West Point's lone run gave them a 1-0 run in the lead as Hunter Persall was hit by a pitch, moved to third on a single by Branson Smith and scored when Cleghorn grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
A pivotal play in game two was in the West Point side of the first. With Cullman ahead 1-0, the Warriors were in a position to tie the game. Persall began the inning getting hit by Lambert. A ground out moved him to scoring position.
However, a base hit from Cleghorn into shallow right field was taken away when Wallace threw a strike to Braswell at home plate, tagging out Persall. The Warriors were never able to recover from that play.
Cullman moved to 6-0 after the third on an RBI double by Hollis and a sac fly by Cole Fuller. The other run scored when the Warriors mishandled a ground ball hit by Wallace, who beat the tag at first.
Bowen pinch hit in the seventh and doubled home Braswell to make it 9-0. The final run dashed home as Dean scored on a sac fly by Beck.
Lambert pitched the first four innings, allowing the Warriors seven hits. But he got out of a pair of potential jams with two strikeouts and a ground out in the second and a ground out to end the fourth with runners in scoring position.
Carter Guest came out of the bullpen for coach Brent Patterson and pitched strong in the final three innings. Guest gave up one hit, a single by Smith in the fifth and struck out four. Guest sent the Warriors down in order in the seventh to complete the sweep with the game ending at 4:16 p.m.
Up next for Cullman: At Grissom Monday 4:30 p.m.
Up next for West Point: At Hamilton Tuesday 4:30 p.m.
AHSAA 6A, Area 14 Baseball (Game 1 of DH)
At West Point Ball Park:
Decatur 2 0 3 0 0 0 0 - 5
Cullman 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 - 3
WP: Lawson Russell
LP: Cooper Beck
S: Turner Stepp
TIME OF GAME: 2:17
SPORTSPAGE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Reed Harbin of Decatur, 3-4, 1B, 2B, 3B, RBI, 2 runs scored.
FLASH NOTES: Things were very different Thursday afternoon than two days earlier when the Bearcats had dominated Decatur by a 13-2 margin.
With the series shifting to West Point while Bill Shelton Field is undergoing installation of an artificial surface, Decatur got three extra base hits in the first three innings that gave the momentum to take a 5-0 lead.
Harbin tripled in the first run for the Red Raiders, doubled in the third and came in on a sac fly by Jackson Hall. A double off the bat of Josh Mann drove in Carter Gannaway who reached base on a walk.
Cullman was handcuffed by Russell. He allowed the Bearcats one hit through three and a third innings. But Russell went through control problems, walking the bases loaded in the fifth as coach John Frost went to the bullpen and brought in Stepp.
Stepp would encounter three consecutive innings of getting out of bases loaded jams.
Cullman finally got a pair of runs off Stepp thanks to three fielding errors from the Red Raider infield in the sixth.
An infield single for Peyton Colvard was credited, due to the hustle of Niklas Fondren, beating the tag at second base. That brought in Cole Fuller and closed the deficit to 5-2.
But the sixth inning rally was stopped when Dylon Wallace struck out with the bases loaded.
Decatur had several opportunities to add runs to its side of the scoreboard. But two runners were thrown out at home plate and a running catch by Wallace in center field ended the seventh with the Raiders having a runner in scoring position.
Cullman's final visit to the batter's box began with Brady Patterson drawing a walk. A walk to AJ Miller put him in scoring position, then Beck doubled to right, scoring Patterson.
With runners in scoring position, the Bearcats' bid for a comeback victory ended when Stepp got Fondren to ground out to first, ending the contest at 7:12 p.m.
Game 2 of doubleheader (Late)
Up next for Cullman: At West Point Friday (DH) 12:00 (WKUL-FM)
Photo 1: Cullman's Brady Patterson heads to the dugout in middle of the 1st inning.
Photo 2: Peyton Colvard takes a pitch inside in the bottom of the 1st inning Thursday.
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton
AHSAA 6A, Area 14 Baseball
At Decatur High Ball Park:
Cullman 0 0 0 5 4 4 - 13 (10-9, 1-0)
Decatur 0 0 1 0 1 0 - 2 (8-8, 0-1)
WP: Clayton Colvard
LP: Carter Gannaway
TIME OF GAME: 2:17
SPORTSPAGE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Cooper Beck of Cullman, 3-4, 2 1Bs, 3B, 2 RBI, run scored.
FLASH NOTES: Cullman's victory in the area opener became secondary on the concern of the health of the home plate umpire.
The umpire, who was not identified, became ill prior to the top of the sixth inning with Cullman on top by the score of 9-2. Medical personnel came to the umpire's aid as a 9-1-1 call was made for an ambulance to come across the street from Decatur High School at Decatur General Hospital.
The emergency took place at 6:45 p.m. with the game delayed for 17 minutes. One of the other umpires had to go to the locker room to put on his gear, with the game finished under a 2-man system.
Heading to the fourth, Cullman was down 1-0 and had been held in check by Gannaway. Gannaway allowed the Bearcats one hit through three innings and retired four on strikeouts.
It became a different game when Cullman batted around in the fourth. Colvard led off with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored when Dylon Wallace's single to left field was misplayed. Brady Patterson singled home Wallace to make it 2-1. Cole Fuller delivered a run-scoring single and a two-run single by Brennen Norton completed the hit parade and a 5-1 lead for Brent Patterson's Bearcats.
Cullman added four in the fifth, aided by back to back triples from Beck and Niklas Fondren. Beck's three-bagger sent home Patterson and Nicholas Braswell. Fondren's triple scored Beck, with Fondren scoring moments later when a pick off throw at third sailed into left field.
Fondren had the big hit in a 4-run sixth, a 2-run single, scoring Patterson who was safe on a fielder's choice and Ben Hollis who walked. Braswell and Fuller produced runs batted in on ground outs.
Colvard went the distance, scattering eight hits with three walks and three strikeouts. The game ended at 7:16 p.m. when Josh Gann grounded to Norton at third, who tagged th bag to force out Brady Barnes and put the Bearcats 1-0 in the area standings.
The series will continue Thursday with Cullman using West Point's diamond to play the Red Raiders in a twinbill. Game times are 5:00 & 7:00 p.m.
Photo 1: Culman's Peyton Culvard throws a pitch to Decatur's Brady Barnes in the 1st.
Photo 2: Cullman's Brennen Norton swings in the 1st inning of Tuesday's area game.
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton
AHSAA 6A, Area 14 (G) Championship
At Hartselle Gymnasium:
Cullman 15 17 11 15 - 58 (23-9)
Hartselle 17 16 22 16 - 71 (25-4)
Cullman: A.K. Eastman 26, Alexandria Barker 11, Olivia Neal 9, A.G. Murphy 5, Jaden Winfrey 5, Hanna Hoffman 2.
Hartselle: Moriah Taylor 33, Maysn Marchbanks 14, Kalli Cartee 7, Lillyanna Cartee 6.
FLASH NOTES: Having to expand so much energy in the first half for fighting back from a pair of large deficits, the Cullman Lady Bearcats did not have a lot left in the tank when the second half started Friday evening in the Area 14 championship.
Cullman scored just 11 points in period three on four field goals. Hartselle doubled the Lady 'Cats with eight made shots and an 11-point segment from senior Moriah Taylor was too much for Josh Hembree's squad to overcome.
Cullman trailed 14-7 in the first period then went on an 8-0 run and grabbed the lead on a layup by A.K. Eastman. A three from Allie Mayfield pushed Hartselle back into the lead at 17-15 to end the first.
The Lady 'Cats went down 25-15 at the beginning of the second. It was time for another rally. As Eastman delivered 10 points, two huge baskets from A.G. Murphy accounted for five points and a pair of free throws from Olivia Neal pulled the unit to a single point at the break, 33-32.
With Taylor setting the tone in the third, Hartselle got control and kept Cullman at arms length.
The Lady 'Cats went down by 19 points in the fourth, but continued to fight and battle. After not scoring in the third, Eastman was back in her zone with a 12-point final stanza to complete the evening scoring 26 points.
For the tournament, the junior guard tallied 51 points and was perfect from the line in 21 attempts.
Taylor, the senior for Hartselle, who has signed with Georgia State, had a championship game high 33 points on 13 field goals, six treys. She netted 15 by the break and put 18 on the scoreboard in the second half.
Up next for Cullman: At Muscle Shoals in Sub-Regional Monday 7:00 p.m.
Up next for Hartselle: Vs. Athens in Sub-Regional Monday 7:00 p.m.
Photo courtesy of Kim Hall.