By DALE CONSTANCE
Pontotoc High School head baseball coach Phil Webb is thrilled that his Warriors are preparing for their upcoming Region 1-4A schedule. He just wishes they didn’t make their games so adventurous.
The Warriors squandered a four-run lead before escaping with a 6-5 victory over the Ingomar Falcons in non-regional action Saturday down in “The Hollow.”
Pontotoc improved to 5-2 on the young season.
Sophomore catcher Blake Littlejohn’s double over the head of the Ingomar center fielder with two out in the sixth inning scored sophomore Jake Smithey to break a 5-5 tie and send the Warriors to the dramatic win over the 1A Falcons.
The victory came just three days before Pontotoc was to open its regional schedule at home against Itawamba on Tuesday.
“We’ll take the win any way we can get it,” Webb said. “We made a lot of mistakes that cost us, but I’m proud of our guys for the way they battled.
“You’ll have games like that, when things don’t go exactly the way you want,” Webb added.
“We just need to keep fighting. I give Ingomar a lot of credit. They took advantage of our mistakes.”
With their regional opener inching closer, the Warriors displayed some solid mound work.
Sophomore pitcher Kaleb Kennedy tossed two scoreless innings, and junior Nathan White and sophomore Blake O’Callaghan threw one shutout inning apiece as Pontotoc shut down the Falcons early.
The Warriors broke a scoreless tie in the fourth when senior Cody Roberts laced a one-out single to left field and scored when White split the right-center field gap for an RBI double.
After White went to third on a wild pitch, Ethan Donaldson’s sacrifice fly to right field plated White to make it 2-0.
“Offensively, the guys are hitting the ball well,” Webb said.
“We just need to be more consistent.
“We’re getting better,” Webb added. “We’re not where we need to be, but we never will be. We’ll never play that perfect game.”
Ingomar got on the board in the fifth against White with an infield single, infield groundout, passed ball and a botched rundown by the Warriors between first and second base.
Pontotoc, however, regained the momentum in the bottom of the fifth inning on junior Zach Chavers’ three-run home run that easily cleared the left-center field wall.
Chavers’ third home run of the season scored senior James Elzie and junior courtesy runner Luke Peeples.
Elzie led off the inning with a single and Peeples ran for Littlejohn, who blooped a single down the right-field line.
After retiring the first Ingomar batter in the sixth inning, senior Grant Howell was touched for four runs on three singles, two doubles and a fielding error to tie the game at 5.
White, who moved to first base after his earlier mound work, returned to the hill and was victimized by a Warrior throwing error that loaded the bases with one out.
The Warriors, however, wriggled off the hook when White struck out the next two batters on curve balls to end the inning.
White pitched a scoreless seventh inning, striking out the final two hitters, to earn the save.
“Nathan gave us a big bright spot,” Webb said of White.
“This was only his second outing of the season, so he was a big boost for us today.”