With the early season tournaments done and the district schedule here and now, the Toppers got off to a good start with two wins over Leake Central last week.
Austin Burdine got the win March 18 for the Hilltoppers striking out 13 Gators and allowing only two hits.
“Dominating performance,” said coach Scott Gann of Burdine’s effort, adding the offense was showing positive as well. “Our bats came alive and we just seemed to square a lot of balls up and they just seemed to find gaps.”
The Toppers hosted Leake Friday, again getting the win, but not by quite as large a margin. Clay Hillhouse got the 6-1 win on the hill.
“He threw extremely well and our hitters found holes in the defense,” Gann said.
Reid Carter got the third win of the week for the Toppers in the non-division game against Choctaw County Saturday.
“We had another great pitching performance,” Gann said of Carter’s seven-inning no-hitter that paved the way for a 5-0 shutout. “Our hitters were really locked in and didn’t miss too many good pitches.”
With a division heavy remainder of the schedule looming, the Toppers, and their coaches, are on the field almost every day.
“Last week started the ‘grind,'” said Gann. “We play junior high every Monday and Thursday and high school every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday until Easter. Throw in a light practice on Wednesdays and an off-day Sunday and it equals a full slate for five weeks straight. I have to give some major credit to my assistants, coach Kirby and coach Wilburn. They are what really keeps this maching well-oiled and moving.”
The Toppers were set to host Leake Central Tuesday and travel to Carthage to play the Tigers Friday then head to Oxford Saturday. They will be back in division play April 1 in Caledonia.
“I think this team is really jelling well together and hitting our stride right now,” Gann said of the Hilltoppers (10-2-1, 2-0). “The pitchers are figuring out the strike zone and getting us a lot of opportunities for outs. On the flip-side, our hitters are doing what it takes to get on base and drive each other around.”