Toppers use the long ball to defeat Panthers

By David Wheeler/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal

SALTILLO – Houston Hilltoppers head coach Scott Gann will readily admit that his baseball team is not a power-hitting squad.
Yet, in the box score from their contest Friday – three home runs.
The Hilltoppers used those three over-the-fence hits to back up the relief pitching of Austin Burdin to edge the Amory Panthers 5-3 in action at the Saltillo Spring Classic.
“They just left the ball up, and we took advantage of the wind,” said Gann of the three home runs on a breezy spring day. “Just to put one on the left side of the column is good.
“This area has a lot of good teams, and any win is pretty good.”
The Hilltoppers are sporting a pretty fine record at 12-1, and were in a back-and-forth contest with the 6-3 Panthers.
Amory jumped into the lead at 1-0 in the bottom of the first as Destin Hahn singled, then later scored on a passed ball. Houston responded with two runs in the top of the second, scoring a run on an error, and a solo home run that hugged the right field line by Hunter Moore.
Back to the lead went Amory at 3-2 in the bottom of the second, scoring on two hit batters, two errors, and a walk.
In the third, Houston knotted the score on a solo home run to center field by Peyton Callahan. And then in the fourth, the Hilltoppers took the lead for good as pinch hitter Reed Carter stroked one to right field for a two-run home run.
“It’s always been a good rivalry with Houston,” Amory head coach Chad Williams said. “This game had a playoff atmosphere, but it was a friendly game.”
Burdin, a junior, got the win for Houston, going the final four innings of a six inning, time-limit game. Amory starter Tanner Poole only allowed four hits, but was hit with the loss in his six innings of work.