By Jay Tidwell/Special to the Journal
NEW ALBANY – North Pontotoc coach Chad Anthony said his squad wanted to win its first title in Class 4A so badly, they were willing to miss a meal to make it happen.
After a pitcher’s duel between the top two teams in Division 1-4A on Monday night, the two met again on Tuesday in their regular-season finale and this time it was a slugfest with the Vikings taking a 13-12 win.
North Pontotoc and New Albany combined for 26 hits as the Vikings won on back-to-back nights to capture their first division championship since their promotion from Class 3A last season.
“We wanted it bad,” Anthony said. “These guys, these seniors wanted it more than they wanted to eat lunch today. So they got it done. They never quit and they kept coming, and they’ve got a lot of heart and a lot of guts.”
After missing the playoffs by a whisker last season, North Pontotoc (20-3, 8-2) went on a 15-game winning streak to open the year. With both the Vikings and New Albany (17-9, 7-3) having playoff spots locked up, the real stake was the regular-season division championship, which the Vikings won by out-hitting a loaded New Albany team.
North Pontotoc’s Brandon Davis drew a bases-loaded walk off reliever Easton Hall in the fifth to give the Vikings a 13-12 lead. Davis, one of five seniors on his squad, had started things off for his team with a three-run double in the first. It was the first of many hits between the top two teams, which battled to a 3-2 finish at Ecru a night ago.
The winning pitcher in Monday’s match, Kyle Robbins, pitched the final two innings, and shut down New Albany, striking out four through the heart of the order.
The Bulldogs had scored five in the third – highlighted by a two-run single by Hall and a two-run double by Taylor Goode – that had given them an 11-6 lead.
North Pontotoc rallied for seven in the fifth to take control. Robbins led off with a home run to left, and the next six batters scored as they faced three pitchers for New Albany.