SPRINGVILLE – David Bowen understands why teams don’t intentionally walk him. He just hopes they don’t start now.
The South Pontotoc senior belted a pair of three-run home runs to power the Cougars to an 11-6 victory over the Houston Hilltoppers in the deciding third game of the Class 3A third-round playoff series Monday night at Cougar Field.
The win sends South Pontotoc (20-12) to the North championship series beginning Thursday. The Cougars will face the winner of the Mooreville-North Pontotoc series. Houston finishes 18-14.
Bowen’s second home run of the game, his 12th of the season, came off freshman pitcher Jacob Shempert on the first pitch of the at-bat. Bowen’s roundtripper highlighted a five-run fourth inning that gave South Pontotoc the lead for good.
“I don’t expect anyone to intentionally walk me,” Bowen said. “There are so many ways you can get out. I didn’t figure he would.”
Bowen also had a three-run home run in the first that rallied the Cougars after Houston had taken a 2-0 lead in the top of the inning.
“David’s always had the ability to (hit home runs),” South Pontotoc coach Bryan Buckner said. “He’s just learned the home run swing this year. He’s getting good pitches to hit.”
After relieving starting pitcher Lance Carter in the fifth inning, Sam Cruse retired the final nine Houston batters to earn the save.
The two teams combined for eight home runs, with five coming from the Cougars. Tanner Luttrell, Dalton Butler and Heath Kitchens hit home runs for South Pontotoc, while Shempert, Latham Brister and Garrett Brandon homered for the Hilltoppers.
“He hit everything we threw at him,” Houston coach John Ellison said of Bowen’s power display. “We left a pitch out over the plate and he hit it.”
Dale Constance/Special to the NEMS Journal