The Hilltoppers got their division win over Caledonia April 1, it just took a little time to do it.
The Houston team went ten innings but it was worth it to bring home a division win against the Confederates.
“It was an unbelievable game,” said coach Scott Gann. “Their pitcher (Tuesday night) was phenomenal and we just kept battling and working ourselves out of jams. Austin Burdine was just as good on the mound for us.”
No score through the regulation seven innings sent the game to the eighth, ninth and tenth innings. Burdine pitched seven innings giving up only two hits, but was pulled for the last three frames of the game.
“Burdine threw exeptionally well, but his pitch count just got too high after seven innings,” Gann said.
In the top of the tenth Luke Hancock got a one-out walk and courtesy runner, Justin Hardin, moved to second on a pass ball. Clay Hillhouse and Wes Parker both walked on and Denver McQuary’s two RBI single up the middle scored Hardin and Hillhouse to finally break open the scoreboard for a 2-0 Houston lead.
McQuary came to the mound and allowed two batters on base but struck out three for the win.
The Toppers took a second district win over the Feds April 4 as they hosted and posted a 5-1 victory.
“Friday was a bit of the same,” Gann said. “A little more offense and defense and pitchers weren’t quite as dominant as the two Mississippi Delta Community College signees (Caledonia’s Caleb Brown and Houston’s Burdine).”
Weekend and upcoming
The Toppers fell to Oxford, 5-13, in non-division play Saturday.
“I’m going to say we were flat because of the amount of energy the two division games took out of us previously,” Gann said. “But give credit to Oxford, they got off the bus swinging and never gave us an opportunity to produce much.”
They picked up a win over Belmont in the nightcap with Anekein Rish on the hill.
“Rish threw a great ball game for us and against one of the toughest lineups in this area,” Gann said. “One through nine, the hitters can produce at the plate and he kept them off-balance enough and shoved the ball in the strike zone to get some contact and let the defense play for him. It worked out about as well as we could have asked for.”
Division play will crank right back up this week as the Toppers are set to play Kosciusko twice, on the road April 8 and at home April 11.
“The overall record is just eye-candy,” Gann said. “The division record is what really matters because those games get you into the postseason or not. We’ve been fortunate to catch a few breaks here and there and some of it has been just flat out good luck brought on by the way our guys have played. This is an exciting time for baseball. We had a great crowd Friday and Saturday and certainly appreciate all the support and hope for the same this Friday.”