Toppers take two
The Toppers may have struggled a bit in the first jamboree in Pontotoc, but they more than made up for it by taking two wins in their Classic tournament March 1.
The Houston boys posted an early win over Booneville Saturday, capitalizing on a productive second inning.
After sending the Blue Devils back to the dugout, three-up, three-down, the Toppers headed to the plate with Grady Nabors leading off a single past third base. Nabors stole to second on Luke Hancock’s at-bat and then to third on Hancock’s ground out and Hunter Moore’s double to the left center wall sent him across the plate.
Wes Parker’s groundout advanced Moore to third and Denver McQuary’s single plated him. Reid Carter finished up the inning with a double that sent McQuary home from first base and gave the Toppers a 3-0 lead.
Houston maintained their momentum for a final 8-1 win with Clay Hillhouse as the pitcher of record. Austin Burdine and McQuary also spent a little time on the hill in the first game.
“We played really well and this is a really good ball club,” said coach Scott Gann, crediting the Blue Devils, coached by Houston native Kenny Hicks. “They were one win away from winning their division last year and have a pretty solid veteran group, so we were impressed with the progress we made in seven days. Our guys came out with a lot of focus and intensity which has been lacking at times early on, but we kept it at a high level for all seven innings and it showed.”
Gann said the improvements he was looking for were evident on the diamond Saturday.
“Pitchers throwing strikes and we did that,” Gann said. “Better defensively all around and we did that, turned three double-plays on the day and did not miss on a double-play opportunity. And making better contact with the ball and we did that.”
The Toppers blanked Potts Camp in the afternoon game, 9-0.
“All in all, we were thoroughly pleased with the way the guys responded this week,” Gann said.
The Toppers have a busy week on the schedule, facing New Hope and Hamilton in the Amory Tournament Tuesday and Thursday and heading to Choctaw County for tourney action Friday.
“We have our work cut out for us, but we like it that way to prepare us for a rigorous division schedule,” Gann said.
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About Lisa Voyles
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