AMORY – Tanner Poole was the only Amory hitter to get to Kyle Robbins. He also happened to be the first batter the North Pontotoc lefty faced.
Poole’s leadoff base hit through the right side of the infield in the bottom of the first, however, was the only hit the Panthers recorded off the Vikings ace. Robbins struck out seven against three walks as his Vikings shutout the Panthers 1-0 in Amory in Thursday night’s Game 1 of a Class 4A state semifinals series.
“Amory has a great ballclub with a lot of great hitters, and he just did a good job of keeping them off balance,” North Pontotoc coach Chad Anthony said of Robbins (10-1). “He threw his heart out.”
Even though Amory starting pitcher Dalton Conwill (5-4) suffered the loss, he struck out one more batter than Robbins and held the Vikings to four hits, with one of them an infield hit that could have perhaps resulted in an out.
The Vikings scored the only run of the game in the top of the fourth when Hayden Stegall, who led off the inning with a base hit down the right-field line, scored on a wild pitch with two outs.
“Dalton was injured earlier and he was out for about two weeks,” Panthers coach Chad Williams said about his Game 1 starter. “This was his third time to the mound since he was hurt, and I thought he threw the best game of his career.”
Anthony is one win away from taking his team to the promised land – a first-ever trip to the state championship series under his guidance – but he knows his squad faces a tall order in Game 2.
On the mound for the Panthers tonight in Ecru is 2010 Daily Journal Player of the Year and Mississippi State signee Will Cox.
John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal