Toppers ready for new season

Although it’s still January and winter weather is all around, the Houston Hilltopper baseball team is itching to get back on the diamond for a new season.
Coach Scott Gann addressed the Houston Exchange Club Jan. 17, recapping the 2013 season and laying out his plans for 2014.
The Hilltoppers wrapped up the 2013 season with a record of 25-7, one step shy of the North Half game, falling to the eventual 4A State Champs.
“We were one game away from North Half, one out away, and got beat by Lewsburg, who went on to win the State Championship,” Gann said. “I felt like we went toe-to-toe with the best in our class.”
The Toppers return three seniors and three juniors to the roster this year.
“That means we have a lot of underclassmen,” Gann said.
But the team isn’t backing down from competition, with a non-divison schedule featuring games against three 5A schools and a tough division schedule as well.
“We lost Louisville and picked up West Lauderdale,” Gann said of the 12-time State Championship Knights.
The division schedule includes Kosciusko, Caledonia, Leake Central and Noxubee County and non-divison games will pit the Toppers against Oxford, Starkville and West Point in addition to matches with local and area teams.
“Our schedule is packed, but the guys said, ‘We want that kind of challenge,'” Gann said.
Gann’s goal is for his team to move forward, progressing each day to the ultimate goal of a State title.
“My challenge to them is to be a little better every day,” Gann said.
The Toppers will get back to work Feb. 3 for their first day of practice and will participate in the Pontotoc Jamboree Feb. 22. They will open their season at home with the Classic game March 1, hosting Booneville and Potts Camp.Gann