Houston Hilltoppers prove depth in win

By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal

SALTILLO – Houston proved its pitching goes beyond the surface Wednesday in a 3-1 win over Pontotoc in the Saltillo Spring Classic.
The Toppers improved to 11-1 on the season behind the arm of back-end starter Sharone Wright and an opportunistic mindset.
“We’ve got a pretty deep group. We feel good about our pitching staff,” Houston coach Scott Gann said. “If we score enough runs, we’ll be alright on the mound.”
Tied at 1, Kyle Wilson singled to open the fourth and moved to second on Reid Carter’s groundout. Quon Brand tried a pair of bunts before blooping a single to right field that scored Wilson for a 2-1 lead. The Toppers added a third run in the fifth. Blake Johns singled and went to second on an error on the play. He scored on Wright’s pop to right that dropped beside Chance Witt’s glove.
Houston left runners at second and third in the first inning, but Peyton Callahan’s double opened the inning, Johns singled and Austin Burdine reached on an error to get the run home. Ryan Watts (1-2) took a hard-luck loss.
“Our pitcher did a wonderful job. He made it tough on them. They capitalized on some mistakes we made, which is to their credit.,” Pontotoc coach Casey James said.
Pontotoc (4-5) tied it in the bottom of the first with Reid Tackett’s RBI single. Hayden Cummings reached on an error to open the inning.
Houston left Burdine on second in the third. Wright left two runners on in the bottom of the sixth after an error and a single from Sy Holley. Pontotoc stranded two more in the bottom of the seventh.
Wright (2-0) struck out four and allowed seven hits. Holley went 2 for 3 for Pontotoc. Johns had two of Houston’s seven hits.
“We’ve got a good core of not just nine or 10,” Gann said. “We feel comfortable with about 12 or 13 guys that we can interchange.”

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