By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
BELDEN – They left the bases loaded twice and stranded 13 runners, but the Pontotoc Red Sox made up for it with key hits Friday in a 7-0 win over Florence (Ala.) Post 11 in the Tupelo 49ers Invitational.
After three scoreless innings at Tupelo Christian field, the Red Sox (15-4) came to the aid of starter Joseph Caver, who improved to 4-0 with a four-hit, five-strikeout, complete-game win.
“He threw a great ballgame, threw strikes, didn’t walk anybody,” Pontotoc coach Nicky Browning said. “We made some plays and played defense behind him.”
Booneville senior Caver threw 89 pitches through the seven innings. Pontotoc scored on an RBI single from Houston senior Austin Burdine in the fourth, then got three straight bases-loaded singles from Ben Foster (New Albany), Andrew Lambert (Booneville) and Scott Pala (Hernando) for a 4-0 lead. The damage came with one out before Florence (21-9) starter Drake Tucker left the bases loaded.
Florence scattered its four hits through four innings.
“He kept us off-balance all day,” Florence coach Lee Walker said. “I think we squared more balls up than they did. We just didn’t find the holes like they did.”
runs keep coming
The Sox added one more in the fifth when Foster walked with the bases loaded, chasing Tucker (2-1). Stephen Sexton doubled with one out to set up the run.
Pontotoc scored two more in the sixth on Sexton’s RBI single to deep short and Burdine’s bloop to right for a 7-0 lead.
TCPS’ Sexton, who graduated in May, was 3-for-3 and reached base all four plate appearances at his home field. Burdine had three of Pontotoc’s 16 hits.
“As long as our pitching’s good, we’re winning,” Sexton said. “We could’ve scored a few more runs today.”
Both teams play back-to-back games at Northeast CC today, as pool play continues at each field. The semifinals and championship games are scheduled for Sunday at Northeast.