Special to the Journal
PONTOTOC – Most pairings in the first week of the high school baseball season are a bit like glorified practices as teams try to find themselves.
Pencil in county rivalries as the exception.
A balanced offensive attack and solid defense aided the Pontotoc on Friday as they handled county rival South Pontotoc 10-3 in a time-limit contest in the week-long Pontotoc Tournament.
“It’s important for our kids, this game,” Pontotoc head coach Casey James said. “Our pitchers did a good job getting ahead in the count.
“And our defense had no errors, and that’s always gives you a chance to win.”
Pontotoc put the initial runs on the scoreboard beginning in the bottom of the first inning. The Warriors pushed across five runs in the frame, two off and error, and by RBI hits by Jacob White and Hayden Kennedy.
All of the home damage in the first was with two outs.
The Cougars had a response in the top of the third, beginning with a leadoff home run by Kaleb Morgan. Later in the at bat, Peyton Belk knock in two runs with a single.
The Warriors got a pair of those runs back in the bottom of the inning off a ground out by White and a single by Kennedy. Pontotoc then added a solo run in the fourth on an error, and left the bases loaded.
Pontotoc completed its scoring in the bottom of the fifth. The Warriors had three hits in the inning, with Will Howard and Caleb Barnes smacking run-scoring singles.
“The bottom of the first inning was especially big,” South Pontotoc head coach Bryan Buckner said. “I think it changed the outlook of the game, changed the dimensions of the game.
“I was proud to see us come around with the bats. Playing a team like Pontotoc does nothing but prepare you for division games, and I hope we learned.”
Hatching a victory
Eli Hatcher chalked up the win for Pontotoc (3-1) throwing four innings and scattering four hits. White threw a 1-2-3 fifth inning for the Warriors.
Kolten Ferguson threw all five innings for South Pontotoc (2-2), and was victim of five errors. Two of those miscues by the Cougars’ defense came in the crucial bottom of the first.
Play ends in the tournament today with East Union-North Pontotoc at 11 a.m., East Union-Alcorn Central at 1 p.m., Tupelo-Alcorn Central at 3 p.m., and Tupelo-Pontotoc at 5 p.m.