By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
SALTILLO – Gage Davis got the pitch he wanted from the start, a fastball on the inside corner.
North Pontotoc’s junior catcher blasted the offering from Booneville freshman right-hander Joseph Caver over the fence in left field to help power the unbeaten Vikings to an eventual 13-2 victory Friday in the Saltillo Spring Classic.
Davis added another solo homer in the fourth inning while teammates Mackenzie McKnight and Kyle Robbins also went yard against the Blue Devils. Robbins’ two-run shot in the fifth ended the game.
“The first one looked good coming in,” Davis said. “The second one was low; I was a little lucky.”
Despite the power display, North Pontotoc coach Chad Anthony wasn’t ready to proclaim his team home run kings.
“It was hot and there was some good wind today,” Anthony said, then laughed. “We have that ability. We’ve hit a couple this year.”
North Pontotoc, which improved to 8-0, returns to action at noon today against Amory in the same tournament.
The Vikings open a tough Division 1-4A road next week with two dates against rival Pontotoc. League games are also on tap against Tishomingo County, Itawamba AHS, Shannon and New Albany, all successful teams.
That’s one reason Anthony was pleased with the pitching of his No. 3 starter, Brandon Bailey (2-0). The side-armed righty fired a 3-hitter and recorded three strikeouts. He hit two batters with pitches in the fifth, but his coach stuck with him.
“He threw strikes today and we played good defense behind him,” Anthony said. “Our division is so tough, you can’t just go with a couple of pitchers.”
Davis, who caught Bailey all five innings, liked what he saw.
“His side-arm ball has a lot of tail on it,” the slugging catcher said. “He started off throwing strikes. I thought he did really well.”
North Pontotoc reached Booneville pitching for 12 hits, including eight from the bottom half of the order, which featured Davis, McKnight and Bailey. McKnight had a double to go with his homer while Bailey, who starts at third when he isn’t pitching, added a triple and two singles.
“All three are good, capable hitters,” Anthony said. “I thought we played one of our better games in all three phases (pitching, hitting, defense) today.”
Caver paced the Blue Devils (2-7) with two singles.