No matter how many times I watch baseball, I always see something new.
Tuesday night after the Pontotoc High School field was somehow made playable, I saw my first two mid-March snow delays. Then, the game was postponed a day with Pontotoc holding a 3-0 lead over Shannon. The heavy wind blowing in probably robbed Myron Hereford of his 10th home run. As the swirling wind held the ball up, it also cost the outfielder a chance to glove the ball.
Hereford has to be having one of the top hitting performances of the young season with a .625 batting average and 28 RBIs, to go with a 1-1 pitching start. He was the starter who was snowed out.
Running in high gear: Pontotoc with an 11-2 record, has to have one of the top offenses around, along with Tupelo, and Corinth, which averaged 9. 2 runs in 10-games last week, while going 5-5. The Warriors were led by Tyler Moss who was 22 for 33 during Corinth’s Diamond Classic, including 10 doubles and 2 home runs.
“I don’t have any pitching ” Corinth coach John Smillie said. “It’s good to average 9.2 runs. It’s not good to lose.”
Corinth is one of the young teams that has other coaches looking past the 6-7 record and worrying, “what if the Corinth pitching comes around?”
Last week Corinth had a 14-4 win over Pontotoc to open Division 1-3A play for both teams.
Tournament progress: Three area teams really took a step forward in the the Corinth Diamond Classic, including last minute replacement team Tupelo (10-2), which may be the hottest team in the area. Alcorn Central, led by Bart Doran, who was 11-13 for the tournament, had a 5-1 record for the week. Tishomingo County was 2-2 in the tournament but is 7-2 on the season.
Tish County has a pair of .500 hitters in junior Blake Holly and Ricky Lambert.
“I don’t think we have jelled yet,” Tishomingo County coach Jerry Long said. “We haven’t played the perfect game. We need to swing the bats better.”
Long does set a high standard for Blake Holly, brother of former Mississippi State pitcher Chuck Holly, whose college career was cut short by arm injury.
“Blake (a middle infielder) may have more baseball talent than his brother, though not as a pitcher,” Long said.
Like a Rock: Fulton may have the top pitcher in the area. He is certainly the all-name player for an athlete. Jamie Rock.
While Rusty Camp of Amory was spinning an 18-strikeout masterpiece in Florida, Rock was having the kind of frustration that most pitchers dream about.
Rock (3-1), who has thrown four two-hitters so far, carried two no-hitters into the final inning. He is averaging more than two strikeouts per inning 53 in 26 innings. He has a 0.81 ERA.
Rock is being recruited by Delta State. He fits the mold of the type player DSU usually looks for, the dual role player pitcher-hitter.
“I think he swings the bat as well as anyone in Northeast Mississippi,” IAHS coach Brian Long said.
Rock is hitting .533, with six doubles, two homers and 14 RBIs. He has only struck out once.
The only hitter who may come close to that is Amory’s Rufus French, who has only four strikeouts this season, and had only five all of last season.
“With Jamie on the mound, we are a really good team,” Long said. “With our other guys on the mound we are still a good team when we finally start hitting.”
Triple Threat: The top hitting lineup in the early going has to be the trio of Santo Armstrong, Daniel Denton and Chad Cook at Calhoun City.
Armstrong is 11-for-11 in stolen base attempts, but is a power hitter with five home runs and 17 RBIs. His .580 average draws scouts like wasps to a watermelon cutting. Ole Miss linebacker signee Chad Cook is showing he could be a two-sport star, with a .609 average. Shortstop Daniel Denton has a .500 average and nine stolen bases.
Calhoun City is a green team. Coach Cory Vance, a Wildcats alum, is in his first coaching job, and has a team loaded with new players behind seniors Armstrong and Cook.
“It’s hard to tell where we will be,” Vance said.
Mike Talbert is a sports writer for the Daily Journal.