SALTILLO MAKING A STRONG RUN IN DIVISION 1-3A
By Todd Vinyard
Spring break is over for Saltillo High School’s baseball team, now it is time for a make or break week.
The Tigers have been as hot as a Panama City beach lately in Division 1-3A. Entering this week Saltillo head coach Johnny Bolen’s team was 5-1 with big wins over the likes of Pontotoc, Shannon, and Kossuth.
“The last couple of weeks our kids have really started to hit the ball and do the fundamental things you must do to win,” said Bolen.
Saltillo passed test number one with a 7-2 win over New Albany Tuesday night. The Tigers are now 12-7 overall and 6-1 in Division 1-3A. Next up is Amory at home Friday at 7 p.m.
“This is certainly a big week for us,” Bolen said. “Amory is always going to be tough. There are no breathers in this division.”
A good finish in the division is important for seeding in the April 10 tournament.
“The higher seeds get to host games so there is a really advantage to finishing strong,” Bolen said.
Finishing strong is something senior second baseman Chris Brazeal knows about. He is batting .296 for the season, and .500 over the last two weeks.
Jeff Dillard and Bill Diggs are tied for the lead on the team in batting average at .453. Diggs leads the Tigers with 35 RBI.
“Dillard and Diggs are really coming through with some big hits for us,” Bolen said.
Dillard had a double and triple in the New Albany victory. While Diggs almost single handedly beat Pontotoc.
He had 12 strike outs and didn’t allow a hit after the first inning for a 5-3 win over Pontotoc. Then at the plate Diggs drove in the winning runs with a double in the fifth inning.
“With the hitters Pontotoc has to holding them like that is a real accomplishment,” Bolen said.
Diggs is 5-2 on the year with two saves included a near perfect 0.99 ERA. His teammate Jason Dickey, however, can top that ERA with a 0.93 one of his own. Dickey is 6-2 on the season with one save.
“After a rough start we are playing a little sharper,” Bolen said.
This week the Saltillo Tigers can’t afford to be anything but sharp.