Hobson’s choices at plate work to perfection

Baseball StockBy GENE PHELPS
Daily Journal

PETAL – Aleck Hobson doesn’t remember the score, but he knows his Booneville team got clobbered earlier this summer by Pontotoc.

“It was something like 18-4,” Hobson said.

Booneville’s right fielder shouldn’t forget the score of Friday’s rematch in the American Legion State Tournament at Petal High School – Hobson ripped a two-run double in the eighth inning to lead his team to a 6-4 first-round win against the favored Red Sox.

Booneville (15-18) advanced to today’s winner’s bracket game, scheduled for 10 a.m., against Tupelo (17-9), a 4-1 winner against host Hattiesburg.

Pontotoc (21-5) plays at 1 p.m. against Hattiesburg (6-6) in a loser’s bracket elimination game.

The championship will be decided on Sunday.

Hobson, the No. 8 batter, connected on an 0-2 inside fastball from Pontotoc reliever Austin Burdine and sent the ball to right-center field to score Graydon Graddy and John Payne.

“I thought he was going to get me to chase something off-speed or away,” said Hobson, who will be a senior at Ripley High. “I wasn’t looking for a fastball.”

Booneville coach Caleb Reno wasn’t surprised by Hobson’s offensive production.

“He’s not an 8-hole hitter, but on this team that’s where he fits in,” Reno said. “He gets good pitches to hit and takes advantage of them.”

Pontotoc, which trailed 4-2 headed into the seventh, tied the score on RBI singles by Hayden Cummings and Stephen Sexton. The Red Sox scored two unearned runs in the third off two of Booneville’s four errors.

Hobson, who went 3-for-3, had an RBI single in the sixth inning to help give his team its 4-2 lead.

On the mound, starter Hunter Bronson and Graddy held Pontotoc to five hits.

Tupelo 4, Hattiesburg 1: The 49ers scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning – two on sacrifice fly balls by Cole Robinson and Russ Johnson.

“You have to play a full nine innings and never quit,” Tupelo coach Kirk Presley said.

Robinson got the pitching win in relief of starter Tanner Poole. The two combined to five-hit Hattiesburg.

Tucker Jenkins had two singles to lead Tupelo at the plate.

gene.phelps@journalinc.com