When the Class 5A, Area 10 softball tournament begins May 1 at Lincoln, the Cleburne County Tigers will open against Clay Central at approximately 4:30 p.m.

The Tigers and the Volunteers split their regular-season series.

Springville comes to Heflin on Friday for the opening round of the Class 5A baseball playoffs. It will be Cleburne County’s 14th consecutive playoff appearance. Cleburne County (16-10) and Springville will play a doubleheader Friday, starting at 4:30 p.m. If a third game is necessary to decide the best-of-three series, it will be played Saturday beginning at 2 p.m.

Cleburne County (14-9) travels to Lincoln today to complete its Class 5A, Area 10 home-and-home series with the Golden Bears. The Tigers clinched the Area 10 championship with a 10-0 victory over Lincoln in Heflin on Tuesday. A win today will give them a perfect 6-0 record in area counters. Lincoln, Clay Central and Talladega all have at least two losses in Area 10 already.  

Whatever Cleburne County senior Brock Swafford had for breakfast Tuesday morning the rest of us want some, too. Cleburne County opened Class 5A, Area 10 baseball action Tuesday evening and the right-hander tossed a no-hitter on 78 pitches with nine strikeouts and three walks. Swafford victimized visiting Talladega. The game was shortened to six innings on the 10-run mercy rule. He helped himself at the plate, too, with a double in three official at-bats, a walk and a run.

Piedmont came to Heflin on Friday and Cleburne County rallied with six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to defeat the Bulldogs 8-5. The Tigers benefitted from five walks, one with the bases loaded, and two bases-loaded hits in the sixth.

The Cleburne County baseball Tigers opened a stretch of three consecutive road games with a 9-7 win at Wellborn on Friday. Only two of Wellborn’s seven runs were earned. The Panthers got five unearned runs in the second inning to take a 5-3 lead and led 6-3 after three innings. The Tigers ch…

Cleburne County scored 111 points at the AHSAA state wrestling tournament in Huntsville last weekend and finished fourth in Class 1A-5A, just behind Alexandria (112.5 points) and just ahead of Dora (108.5). Arab totaled 157.5 points and won its second consecutive 1A-5A state championship and sixth straight overall. Scottsboro was second at 153.5.

Horseshoe Bend was unable to travel for the Tri-county basketball tournament at the last minute and the annual event became a three-team round robin late Friday. The Cleburne County girls defeated Ranburne 51-42 in their first game Saturday then won the tournament with a 57-32 victory over Clay Central later Saturday.

The Cleburne County girls will be riding a four-game winning streak when the annual Tri-county tournament begins Friday in Heflin. The Tigers are the No. 2 seed and will play No. 3 Horseshoe Bend in their semifinal round game. The tournament will conclude Saturday with the girls consolation game set for noon and the girls championship game scheduled at 3 p.m.

Cleburne County hosts its annual “Rumble in the Jungle” wrestling tournament Saturday at the high school gymnasium. Each year, the tournament is the biggest fundraiser for the wrestling program.

Jordan Brown is passionate about baseball. Playing past high school has long been a dream for the Cleburne County High School senior. When longtime Southern Union Community College coach Joe (Jabo) Jordan told Brown in October he had a scholarship for him, “It was kind of like a weight lifted off my shoulders to get a scholarship to go play baseball in college.”

 Friday was a whirlwind day for Chase Whitley. The Ranburne graduate woke up a pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays and went to bed that night the newest member of the Atlanta Braves 40-man roster.

The Cleburne County Tigers won’t wait until after Christmas to begin their preparations for a return to the AHSAA football playoffs they missed this season and last. Head coach Michael Shortt said Wednesday his players will begin lifting weights next week, take a week off for the school’s Th…

The two football scores that mattered most in Ranburne on Friday night were Ranburne 24, Vincent 10 and Woodland 29, Horseshoe Bend 19. Both the Bulldogs and the Bobcats won on the road. Taken together, the two results put Ranburne into the AHSAA Class 2A football playoffs as the No. 4 team from Region 5. Both Ranburne (4-5) and Vincent ended region play at 3-4.

Ranburne defeated rival Woodland 3-0 in the championship match of the Class 2A, Area 9 volleyball tournament at Ranburne on Monday and advanced to the AHSAA North Super-regional tournament. The Bulldogs will play Lamar County, the runner-up from Area 14, today at 11:30 a.m. The tournament is being played in the South Hall of the Von Braun Center in Huntsville.

Weeks of effort to get better finally paid dividends for the Cleburne County Tigers in their game at Lincoln on Oct. 12. The Tigers downed the Golden Bears 42-35 but it wasn’t a cakewalk. The Bears scored on a long pass on the first play from scrimmage and threatened again on their ensuing possession. Cleburne County led 35-14 after three quarters then Lincoln struck for three quick touchdowns before Cade Smith’s 4-yard scoring run provided the margin of victory.

Ranburne’s Bulldogs had the most bite on Friday of last week, downing Gaston 39-12 on the road. The non-region victory improved the Bulldogs to 3-2 overall. Ranburne returns to Class 2A, Region 5 play Friday at Reeltown (2-3). Both teams are 2-1 in Region 5 and the winner will have taken a big step toward securing a playoff berth.

There was no football practice for the Cleburne County Tigers on Wednesday. Fourteen Tigers missed Tuesday’s practice because of injuries or the flu. Just 21 of 56 varsity players were healthy enough to attend classes Wednesday and head coach Michael Shortt canceled practice. Shortt said Wednesday that no decision on practice today would be made until he saw how many players were available.   

Cleburne County is scheduled to host Alexandria in a non-region game Friday at L.E. Bell Field.

Cleburne County completed a busy final week of summer football work by finishing as runner-up in Piedmont’s 7-on-7 passing tournament Saturday. Head football coach Michael Shortt said the Tigers had done some 7-on-7 earlier but not in a competitive environment. 

Summer football work ended for the Ranburne Bulldogs Tuesday evening on a high note. After the Bulldogs completed their two days of maximum weight lifts, head football coach Stephen Bailey created a slip-and-slide on the hill leading to the practice field and rounded up watermelons for everybody. It was a reward for what Bailey called “a really, really good summer.”