By Adam Gore/Special to the Journal
HOUSTON – Brianna Gable said she didn’t feel any pressure when she took the circle in a save situation against in North Pontotoc’s 3-2 win over Houston in Game 1 of the Class 4A softball semifinals series on Thursday.
“It’s was just like the Pontotoc game, when I had to come in with bases loaded with no outs,” said Gable. “It was a tough spot and I pulled it off. My screwball struck the last two batters and my change up really helped set that up.”
Gable entered after Houston’s Hanna Wilson tripled and scored on an error to cut the Lady Vikings lead to one run with no outs in the bottom of the seventh.
Catcher Brittany Seale picked off the tying run with a snap throw down to first and Gable struck out her 96th and 97th batters of the season for the final two outs of the contest and close the door on the Lady Hilltoppers’ comeback.
The series shifts to Ecru, Saturday at 2 p.m., with Houston finding itself in a familiar situation, trailing after Game 1
The Lady Toppers rallied against Tishomingo County and Kosciusko in the first two rounds of the Class 4A playoffs.
“They’re not coming to North Pontotoc to get beat, but we’re not going home to get beat either,” Montgomery. “It’s going to be a good series Saturday because both teams know what they are fighting for. One more and we go (to State) and two more they go.”
Danyel Raby singled and scored on a single by Seale in the first inning before North put back-to-back runs on the board in the fifth and sixth inning on a pair of Houston errors to take a 3-0 lead.
“This time of the year you can’t give teams but three outs because you’ll get beat,” Montgomery. “We helped them a little bit and they helped us a lot. We took advantage of it today, but who knows what Saturday will bring.”
Houston finally got on the board in the in the sixth when Chelsea Gates reached on an error and scored on a single by Haley Gravat.
“We made some errors and mental mistakes that left the door open and it don’t take much for a team like North Pontotoc to beat you,” said Houston head coach Keith Jernigan. “The girls battled back and fought back towards the end to have a chance to win, but now we know what’s ahead of us.”
The winner of the series will take on the winner of the South series between Newton County and North Pike for the state championship next weekend in Ridgeland.