BY CRAIG-ELLIS SASSER
Special to the Daily Journal
FULTON – It pays to take advantage of an opponent's mistakes.
Amory made North Pontotoc pay in the top of the 10th inning Wednesday night after the lead-off man reached on a two base error. Amory (5-5) went on to break the game open with five runs in the frame and defeated the North Pontotoc Vikings 6-3 in the final day of the ICC Baseball Challenge in Fulton.
Both starting pitchers threw eight innings for his respective team. Jesse Hykes allowed one run and picked up the win for Amory. North Pontotoc's Chris Hilliard also allowed one run in eight innings of work. Hilliard struck out 10 Panther hitters and gave up six hits.
“Jesse competes very well. We haven't been playing a lot of defense behind him,” said Amory coach Chad Williams. “Tonight our defense showed up and played behind him. I thought he did an excellent job on the mound.”
Amory committed two errors against the Vikings Wednesday. Contrast that to Tuesday's game against Pontotoc when the Panthers had four errors, and it becomes evident what coach Williams was talking about.
The Panthers didn't get anything going until the top of the 10th, when catcher Josh Rone reached advanced to second base after his ground ball caromed into the left-field corner off the third baseman's glove.
Rone scored the winning run on a throwing error. Then Amory put the game out of reach by putting four more runs on the scoreboard.
Hykes drove in Trey Spencer, who reached base on a bunt single, with a single of his own.
Then came the fireworks. First baseman David Dale smashed a three-run home run off the scoreboard that made the score 6-1 and put the game out of reach for North Pontotoc.
“The home run was the icing on the cake,” said Williams. “It gave us even more momentum going into the bottom half of the inning.”
North Pontotoc (7-5) had to be proud of the way it played, despite the loss. The Vikings picked up two runs in the bottom of the 10th, but Panther reliever Jody Comer was able to prevent more Vikings from crossing the plate. North Pontotoc left runners on second and third in the final inning.
Adam Coker led off the inning with a single and Corey Adams drove him with a RBI single after Chris Hilliard drew a walk. Daniel Thacker walked to load the bases, then Grant Werner picked up the Viking's final run with a sacrifice fly.
“We had a couple of chances to score but didn't,” said North Pontotoc coach Chad Anthony. “We couldn't get the bunt down late. In the end they made the plays and we didn't.”