By Melissa Meador/Monroe Journal
AMORY – In a battle of solid starting pitching, it was Amory’s Tanner Poole who came out on top on Thursday night, striking out six in a 3-0 shutout of Houston.
Poole (6-3) allowed three hits and worked out of having a pair of runners on twice to give his Panthers a 1-0 series lead in the first round of the Class 4A baseball playoffs.
“I stayed patient tonight,” Poole said. “I knew that if I threw strikes, my defense would back me up.”
A Hayden Williams single for Amory (24-5) was the lone hit until the bottom of the fourth inning when the Panthers plated all three of their runs.
Daniel Simpson led off the inning with a double, and a walk to Williams and a bunt single from Jon David Poss loaded the bases.
Amory got on the board when Jake Childers reached on an error in the Hilltoppers’ outfield, and Devan Hurley followed him up with a single to left to plate Williams. A Cory Murphy RBI single later in the inning gave the Panthers a 3-0 lead.
The Toppers (22-5-1) threatened in the fifth with back-to-back singles from Sharone Wright and Kyle Wilson and in the seventh with walks to the same two before Poole worked out of both jams.
“Neither team got real big hits, and both teams played some great defense,” Amory coach Chad Williams said. “I thought Tanner did well of working out of those jams. Their batters worked us deep in the count a few times late, and it got stressful.”
Peyton Callahan (5-3) took the loss for Houston, despite giving up just four hits, two walks and striking out seven.
“We knew this series was going to be lost, not won,” Houston coach Scott Gann said. “We made a couple of key mistakes.I tip my hat to their guy because he pitched really well.”
Game 2 of the series is set for 6 p.m. today at Houston.