JACKSON – With Columbia High’s impressive showing in the field and at the plate, the North Pontotoc High Vikings have to be left scratching their heads.
How on earth can they beat these guys?
The Wildcats pounded out 15 hits and held the Vikings to seven in taking Game 1 of the MHSAA Class 4A state championship series, 14-5, on Wednesday afternoon at Smith-Wills Stadium.
Kyle Robbins, the Vikings ace who entered Wednesday’s game with a 1.09 ERA and an opponents’ batting average of .106, lasted just 22⁄3 innings as he allowed 11 runs on 10 hits.
“We knew coming in that they were good, from what we had heard from other schools,” said Vikings coach Chad Anthony. “But we didn’t play Viking Nation baseball today.
“We hit some balls well and made some good plays on defense, but overall, those first three or four innings, we didn’t play as well as we have been.”
The bright spot
The one good thing about this loss is that Robbins can come back and pitch in Game 2 if needed, and most certainly in the if-necessary Game 3.
Brandon Bailey (6-1) will start Friday afternoon’s Game 2 at Trustmark Park in Pearl, and Robbins could come on in relief if the game is close, said Anthony.
“I think it’s just one of days,” Anthony said about his ace being shelled. “Everybody knows that without Kyle, we wouldn’t be standing here talking.
“He’s had a great, fabulous year, and today, he just didn’t have his best stuff. Combine that with they (Columbia) can swing it really well, and it just didn’t turn out well those first few innings.”
Caleb Mills hit the ball well for the Vikings, going 3 for 4 with a double and two RBIs.
“They played really well today,” Anthony said about the Wildcats nearly run-ruling his team. “If they can do it for two games in a row, then you just gotta tip your hat to them.
“But I don’t think they’re 14-5 better than we are. The last few innings we hit some balls really well and we started making some plays and put some zeroes on the board.”
John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal