Panthers primed for playoffs

By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal

When asked who has stepped up big for his Amory High baseball team this season, Chad Williams couldn’t think of just one person.
“It just depends on what day it is,” said the Amory coach, whose team won the Division 4-4A title with a perfect 10-0 record.
He then pointed to players up and down the Amory roster. There’s catcher Zack Randolph, a leadoff hitter and Itawamba Community College signee who has been playing really well defensively.
Randolph is hitting a team-best .446 and has a team-high 33 hits, with 10 of those being doubles. He has only allowed four passed balls in 148 innings behind the plate and has thrown out two of six runners trying to steal.
Then there’s Will Cox, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound junior who has been throwing well – which could be an understatement – as Amory’s No. 1 starter. He is 8-0 with a 0.39 earned run average, four shutouts and 89 strikeouts in 541/3 innings. His hits and walks per innings pitched is 0.72.
Drew Pickle has also thrown 541/3 innings, and “has done a great job,” said Williams. Pickle is 6-1 with a 2.71 ERA, one shutout and 56 strikeouts.
This past Saturday against Pontotoc, it was freshman Tanner Poole delivering a clutch two-run homer with his team down a run and down to its very last out of the game. (Pontotoc, however, went on to win in the bottom of the seventh, 7-6.)
Poole was hitting seventh in Amory’s lineup on Saturday, and Williams said even the bottom half of his batting order has contributed greatly. Amory has seven hitters with at least 40 at-bats hitting above .300.
“Everybody on this team has contributed in some kind of way to make us be successful,” said the Amory coach.
And it would certainly take contributions from everyone to post a 21-3 record and beat teams like Kosciusko (twice), New Hope, Oxford and Saltillo (twice). Not to mention, go on a 16-game winning streak.
“Our schedule at the beginning of the season was very difficult,” Williams said. “Our non-division games are always hard. We like to get tested early on.
“To only have three losses with the schedule we have is very shocking. I thought we were going to be very competitive, but I didn’t think we would have three losses.”
Contact John Wilbert at 678-1572
or john.wilbert@djournal.com