Huge 6th propels host Hilltoppers

HOUSTON – While people took in the sights and sounds of the Fly Wheel Festival, the Houston baseball team provided the fireworks a few hundred feet away on Friday night.
The Hilltoppers exploded for 10 runs in the bottom of the sixth in a 14-7 win over Lewisburg in the Class 3A playoffs.
The win gave Houston (17-12) a two-game sweep. The Hilltoppers play South Pontotoc in a third-round series.
Josh Griffin led off Houston’s big inning with a single and was quickly followed by a four-pitch walk issued to Jacob Long before a two-run single by Wesley Smith ignited the Houston bats. After a throwing error and a walk, Landon Brister cleared the bases with a three-run double off the wall.
Corey Voyles promptly followed with a two-run shot over the wall in center before Lewisburg recorded an out. Houston ripped back-to-back singles through the gap at second before Long connected on his second home run of the game, leaving no doubt on a towering shot to left.
Lewisburg sent three pitchers to the mound during the Toppers’ scoring marathon.
Lewisburg scored two runs in the top of the seventh on a pair of wild pitches, but it was too little too late.
“Our guys did a good job in the sixth and seventh, it’s something we have been focusing on all year long … this win is just a testament to how hard these guys have worked all year long,” said Houston head coach John Ellison.
Long sent the first Lewisburg pitch of the game out of the park for a leadoff homer in the bottom of the first and finished 3-for-4 with a walk, two home runs, five RBI and three runs.
Houston scored on a two-out single by Long in the second and added two more runs on a Lewisburg throwing error in the third.
Lewisburg (23-8) rallied from a 4-1 hole with a pair of runs in the fourth and fifth innings.

Adam Gore/Special to the NEMS Journal