Warm temps produce slugfest at Saltillo

SALTILLO – The warmest week of the young baseball season produced some warm bats at the Saltillo Invitational.

Playing in the last game of the day Wednesday, the host Saltillo Tigers fell victim to the Houston Hilltoppers 18-14.

“We came out swinging the bats,” Houston coach John Ellison said. “This was our fourth game in a three days, so we were a little fatigued at the end of this game.”

So was the scoreboard.

The warm air combined to help both teams belt five home runs this contest, with Houston’s Lathan Brister hitting two.

The first was on the opening pitch of the contest. His second was in the top of the second inning, where this time the bases were loaded.

By the end of that at bat, with the Hilltoppers scoring nine runs in the frame, Houston (6-7) held a 10-2 lead. The teams were only getting started.

Saltillo (5-7) responded with its own nine-spot in the fourth inning. Run-scoring hits with two outs by Jake Littlejohn, Matt Herring, and Preagan Staples helped the Tigers move in front 13-10.

It was Houston’s turn in the top of the sixth as a two-run double by Jacob Long highlighted a six-run effort as the Hilltoppers retook the lead for good at 16-13.

“Giving up 19 runs one night, then 18 runs the next doesn’t say much for your pitching,” said Saltillo coach Johnny Bolen, whose Tigers lost to North Pontotoc 19-10 Tuesday. “Leaving the bases loaded late in the game, that was a turning point.”

Working out of that bases loaded jam for Houston was freshman hurler Jacob Shempert, who went three and a third innings to claim the win. The fourth Saltillo pitcher of the contest, Chilsom took the loss.

Landon Brister added one home run for Houston, while Chisholm and Herring knocked one each over the fence for Saltillo. Houston had also played the previous contest, beating Mooreville 8-6.

Both Houston and Saltillo have makeup division contests later in the week. Saltillo hosts Itawamba AHS today at noon in a Division 1-4A matchup; and Houston plays South Pontotoc Friday in the 2-3A contest.


David Wheeler/Daily Journal

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