By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
PONTOTOC – The Pontotoc Warriors almost let one slip away.
But in the end, five strong innings of pitching by Blake O’Callaghan stood up in damp conditions Friday night as Pontotoc held off the Corinth Warriors 4-2.
“O’Callaghan was doing all we could ask for, for five innings,” Pontotoc coach Phil Webb said. “We were cruising.
“Then we ran into a little trouble in the sixth. Give credit to Corinth, they were a swing away from tying this game.”
This certainly could have been a trap game for Warriors (6-1).
They were a night removed from their first loss of the season to Ripley. And, they have four games coming up next week at Disney World.
For five innings, though, it was all smooth sailing, beginning with the Pontotoc offense.
Run-scoring hits by Candon Dallas and Jon Michael Hannon plated a pair of runs in the second inning for Pontotoc. That was followed by a third-inning RBI hit by Lawrence Rakestraw, and a fourth inning double and run scored by Jake Smithey for a 4-0 lead.
“We spread out our hits, but we had nine left on base,” Webb said. “You’re not going to get two-out hits all the time, but you do have to capitalize.”
That backed the effort on the mound by O’Callaghan, who had a no-hitter into the sixth inning.
But in that frame, two walks and a bunt-single helped the Warriors (4-4) score its first run of the contest.
Then in the top of the seventh, two walks and a pair of singles plated another run, and had the bases loaded for the visitors. But reliever Ethan Gill earned the final out after facing two batters.
“O’Callaghan is a good left-handed pitcher,” Corinth coach Rob Scarbrough said. “I was proud of our guys fighting back, coming within a hit of tying this.”
Pontotoc does have a pair of doubleheaders scheduled in Florida on Monday and Tuesday, playing squads from North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Olive Branch.
“It’s still early in the season, and I think every coach would say that,” Webb said. “We’re looking for some consistency right now.”