HED:Ellison pitching, play too much for Amory
By D.E. Wheeler
AMORY – Now pitching for the Houston Hilltoppers, Scott Ellison. And now playing defense for the Houston Hilltoppers, Scott Ellison.
If the right-handed senior was not striking out the Amory Panthers batters, he was inducing weak ground outs which helped the Hilltoppers remain undefeated in Division 2-3A with a 6-1 win Friday over the defending Class 3A state champions.
“Those first two innings were the difference in the game,” Houston head coach Joe Williford said of the six runs scored in those two frames. “Ellison did a good job again, too.
“They came out swinging after him. We still have to work on our hitting, our defense, and our baserunning.”
The one constant for Williford and Houston was Ellison. Allowing no walks and scattering four hits, the Meridian Community College signee struck out 13 Amory batters, which accounted for 13 of the 21 Panther outs. And even when Amory did put metal on the ball, Ellison was involved in three ground outs.
“He’s the real deal,” Amory first-year head coach Chad Williams said. “I was real proud, because after the first two innings, the guys relaxed and played great.
But the first two innings were the key to success for Houston (19-2, 8-0), and the downfall of Amory (10-11, 4-5). Tough-luck Amory starter Andy Rice fell victim to the old baseball adage of “hitting them where they ain’t.” Lasting only a third of an inning, Rice gave up three hits which plated the first three Houston runs.
Doubles by Matt Childs and Grant King were two of the seeing-eye hits in the inning. But while Rice was having tough-luck when he was throwing strikes, he was also hurting his cause with two walks.
Senior Chris Baughman finally came in to quell the Houston uprising with two ground ball outs that scored one more for a 4-0 lead. Baughman had his own troubles in the second inning when two singles, a hit batsman and an error plated two more runs for Houston for a 6-0 lead.
Baughman then settled himself and the Hilltoppers down the rest of the way, even picking off three Houston runners at first base in the later innings. But enough damage had been done already for Houston, especially with Ellison on the mound.
But the Houston ace did get a little too comfortable in the middle innings with the game on cruise-control.
Jake Fagan led off the bottom of the fourth inning with the first hit allowed by Ellison, a home run. Amory also threatened in the fifth inning with leadoff singles by Greg Mooneyham and Dustin Shields, but Ellison induced three easy groundouts, two back to the mound.
“So far this season, we’ve given teams leads,” Williams said. “Chris had pitched against Caledonia Friday, and Andy had had good stuff other games this season.
“But after he walked off in the first inning, he told me he didn’t have it tonight. But those things are going to happen.”
“I’m not looking in the rear-mirror in our division, but we’re just a rainout away from trouble,” said Williford, whose team plays division foes Caledonia and South Pontotoc next week.
Houston 420 000 0 – 6 7 2
Amory 000 100 0 – 1 4 1
WP: Scott Ellison (6-1). Multiple Hits: (H) Jeremy Brooks 2, Grant King 2. 2B: (H) Matt Childs, King. HR: (A) Jake Fagan.
Records: Houston 19-2, 8-0, Amory 10-11, 4-5.
Notes: Ellison struck out 13 for the Division 2-3A win.