“Not trying to do anything outside of just putting a good swing on the ball,” said Houston’s coach Scott Gann of his team’s summer hitting. “And we’ve had that lately.”
Gann went on to say the team is having a productive summer, both in pointing out strengths and exposing weaknesses to work on.
“We are playing really well right now,” Gann said. “Pitching has been iffy, but our defense has been really solid. I can only think of a couple of errors the entire summer. We try to pride ourselves on pitching and defense.”
Gann said Mississippi State University’s participation in the Super Regional and now the College World Series has provided teachable moments.
“Take a look at the eight teams playing in the College World Series,” Gann said. “They are all at the top of pitching and fielding.”
Following graduation, the summer season provides an opportunity to fill some gaps during the off-season.
“We all know we’re just working towards next spring, trying to get over that hump in the playoffs and make that awesome journey we had this year last a little longer,” Gann said.
The Toppers’ varsity team took a win over Nettleton June 13 and the JV game was rained out, but the Junior Varsity got their licks in earlier that week, picking up a 6-1 win over Saltillo June 11.
Toppling the Tigers
The Toppers started their run in the bottom of the first inning as Justin Kimbroughs’ two RBI double put the Houston boys on the board.
The Tigers came back with a run in the second but the Toppers added one as well to keep their lead, 3-1.
The Tigers challenged in the top of the third with a runner on first and third and one out, but Clay Faulkner stopped the drive, catching the pop-up at second and turning the double play to Reid Carter at first.
Garrison Howell doubled to center field in the bottom of the frame and Kimbrough hit a liner to the shortstop who missed the tag on Howell and overthrew first, allowing Howell to score and Kimbrough to land on third. Clay Hillhouse doubled to score Kimbrough and Hillhouse scored on a pass ball. Javarious Jones scored on a grounder and the Toppers took their 6-1 lead through the top of the fifth for the win.
The Toppers have a full week scheduled if Mother Nature will let them claim it. They are scheduled to head to the NEMCABB Regional tournament Thursday to begin pool play for the finals next week.
Regional games will be hosted by Calhoun City and Houston will begin with Bruce at 2:30 p.m. Thursday and follow up with South Pontotoc at 4:45 p.m. Friday and Calhoun City at 7 p.m.
June 24-26 they will be in New Albany for the conclusion of the tournament.