HOUSTON – The Houston Hilltoppers didn’t spend spring break on vacation at the beach, but they racked up five wins in tournament play through the week and lots of experience on the diamond.
Coach Scott Gann was looking forward to the week to be able to get some work for all members of the team.
“This is a good week to see all of our pitchers throw and get some other guys a few at bats and see what happens,” Gann said.
What happened was five straight Hilltopper wins.
“Spring break is always a grind for us but I like the way we set it up, playing Monday through Friday with a day or two off and have Saturday and Sunday to recuperate before jumping right back into division play,” Gann said. “We get a lot of guys in and get to see some younger guys who might be called on later in the season, so we ned to see them now.”
The Toppers started off the week March 11 with a 9-5 win over Ripley, leading the whole game with Clay Hillhouse getting the win on the mound. Blake Johns, Reid Carter and Austin Burdine all doubled in the effort.
Later the same day, the faced off with Booneville, going 11 innings but securing a 3-2 win over the Blue Devils. Peyton Callahan got the win from the hill while Kody Kimbrough, Callahan and Hillhouse all had doubles. Burdine had two doubles in the game.
March 13 saw the boys back on the field facing Mantachie and taking an 8-4 win over the Mustangs with Kyle Wilson picking up the win from the pitcher’s mound. Carter had a double and three RBI in the game.
The Toppers finished up the day with a 3-1 win over Pontotoc Sharone Wright getting the win and helping himself with a double and RBI. Callahan also doubled.
They wrapped up the week with their fifth win, a 5-3 victory over Amory with Burdine getting the nod on the hill. Carter, Callahan and Hunter Moore all had home runs in the winning effort.
Tournaments provide the team with playing time and work on the field.
“Throughout last week, we had 13 different guys in the lineup in some way,” Gann said. “That’s big for us now and in the future. I know it seems like we play a ton over that week we are out of school, but we get opportunities to get some younger guys in so when we look up next year and nearly the entire starting infield and outfield have graduated, we don’t have to start over completely. We seem to be playing with a lot of confidence right now. I just hope it carries over.”