MOOREVILLE – Amory picked the wrong time of the year to go cold at the plate and Mooreville was more than happy to take advantage.
The Troopers held the Panthers to five hits on Friday in a 5-2 win in Game 2 of their second round MHSAA Class 3A playoff series.
Mooreville swept the series and will face North Pontotoc, which swept Louisville, in round three.
“We caught Amory probably at a pretty good time,” said Mooreville coach Rex Berryman. “They didn’t hit the ball last night as hard as I’ve seen them hit it. They didn’t hit it tonight as hard as I’ve seen.”
It took only one Mooreville hit in the first inning to put the Troopers (20-10) ahead 2-0. Ben Kingsley alertly scored on consecutive throwing errors on a Channing Nanney single. Pinch runner Zack Barber scored on a wild pitch.
Mooreville went ahead 3-0 on Tyler Moore’s RBI single in the second inning. Moore scored on a wild pitch to make it 4-1 in the fourth.
“We were able to take advantage of a few mistakes they made and we created some plays of our own,” Berryman said. “DJ Gregory came in and did a great job pitching. He just did a tremendous job.”
Nanney, the starting pitcher, left with one out in the third because of a sore back. Gregory (6-1) went the rest of the way, allowing only four hits, two coming in Amory’s seventh inning.
Kyle Montet (6-2) struck out eight in the loss.
Amory made it interesting in the seventh. With two outs, two of the Panthers’ four seniors reached base. Stephen Otey doubled and Montet singled to put runners at first and third. Another senior, Wesley Boock, drove a pitch to deep right, but Tyler Autrey hauled it in for the final out.
Round 2 “is always a tough round,” said Kingsley, Mooreville’s only senior. “Amory’s a good hitting team with good pitching, but to get past them is motivation going into round 3.”
The Panthers (18-11) left the bases loaded in the first inning. Nanney got a groundout and two strikeouts to end the threat.
“I thought we put up a fight right there at the end, especially with two outs,” Amory coach Chad Williams said. “We made a little noise. The key to this series was…we didn’t hit. We didn’t get the big hit.”
Amory pulled to within two runs at 3-1 in the third. With one out, Will Cox’s flyout put the Panthers on the board, but Gregory got Chandler Riggs to groundout.
Zack Randolph, who had two of Amory’s hits, doubled to open the fifth and scored on Boock’s two-out-double to close the gap to 4-2. Gary Johnson homered to give the Troopers an insurance run in the sixth.
BRANDON SPECK/Monroe Journal