By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
PONTOTOC – In a crucial Division 1-4A matchup Tuesday, pitchers Tanner Poole and Zach Gory went out and delivered clutch performances.
Difference was, Poole’s Amory Panthers backed up that performance, making a couple of first inning runs stand up in a 2-0 victory over Pontotoc.
“The key difference was the two early runs,” Amory coach Chad Williams said. “Anytime you only give up two hits to a team the caliber of Pontotoc, you’re doing something.
“Poole really settled down as the game went on.”
In this pitching duel, Poole limited the hard-hitting Warriors (17-6, 3-4) to just two hits. Poole (5-1) also was able to control the Pontotoc lineup with runners on base.
“We had chances, the big difference was they got a two-out hit,” said Pontotoc coach Phil Webb, who saw his Warriors get the leadoff batter on base in five of the seven innings. “I know our guys will bounce back Friday (at Amory) and give it all they have.”
Plenty of runners
Pontotoc did have at least one base runner every inning, even loading the bases in the seventh with two out. But Poole induced and infield grounder to preserve the win.
That helped Amory (16-8, 6-1) maintain its division lead, and a first inning hit by Clint Clay was part of the reason.
A hit batter and an error helped the Panthers put two runners on base with two out in the top of the first inning. Clay, the Amory first baseman, then stroked a Gory offering into the left field corner, scoring both runners.
Gory did settled down the remaining six innings, scattering five more Amory hits while walking only one.
“I don’t think you can feel easy, even with only three games left in the regular season,” Williams said. “I think we still have to battle to get in the playoffs.
“We still have a game Friday with Pontotoc, and two tough games next week against (second place) Itawamba AHS.”