By David Wheeler
Special to the Journal
PONTOTOC – In the heat of July, it was very unlikely that any pitcher in this weekend’s senior American Legion State Tournament would throw nine innings.
Collin McCrory dispelled that myth in the very first game on Friday.
The former Amory Panther and current Blue Mountain College player threw a gem of a complete game to help the Tupelo 49ers edge the Booneville Banditos 6-2 in the opening game of the tournament.
“This was the first time,” said McCrory of his nine inning performance. “It feels good, and hopefully it saved some pitching for us the rest of the tournament.”
Tupelo moves into the winners bracket of the tournament, and will play the Pontotoc Red Sox today at 11 a.m.
McCrory (4-1) scattered five hits through his first four innings, with Tupelo (17-11) holding a 2-1 lead.
The 49ers plated their two runs in the second inning on RBIs by Ben Seay and Tucker Jenkins, while Booneville had scored a run in the third on as Miciah Heard doubled, scoring on a wild pitch.
Tupelo then got some breathing room on the scoreboard in the fifth inning by scoring three runs, including a two-run home run by Cody Pate from Amory.
“It’s always good to get that first one, but I’ve talked all summer about having a short memory,” Tupelo head coach Kirk Presley said. “That was one heck of a game pitched by Collin.”
Tupelo added a run in the seventh on an RBI by Hayden Williams, and Booneville (13-9) got to McCrory with three hits and an RBI by Bryan Malone in the top of he ninth. Between the fourth and eighth innings, McCrory recorded a stretch of 14 straight outs.
“We need to pitch ahead more in the count,” Booneville head coach Caleb Reno said. “And we need to have a better mind-set, especially at the plate.”
Booneville will play the loser of Hattiesburg-Vancleave at 1 p.m. today.