By David Wheeler/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal
PONTOTOC – Pontotoc head coach Casey James was looking for a response from his Warriors after two straight Division 1-4A losses.
The Warriors came through Friday night, handing the Amory Panthers their first league loss of the season, a 6-5 decision.
“This was a great response after a tough loss at Amory Tuesday,” James said. “We had some clutch hits, we had some timely hits.
“We threw two sophomores and a junior, and to beat a great team like Amory, you have to play solid defense to help your pitching.”
Pontotoc (12-8, 5-3) basically got that defense to back up the four innings by starter Chance Witt, with help from Caleb Barnes and Hayden Kennedy.
And the Pontotoc offense quickly jumped onto the scoreboard in a emphatic way.
Taking advantage of some Amory (16-4, 7-1) miscues, Pontotoc plated three runs in the bottom of the first inning, including a two-run single by Delvin Zinn. The Warriors then backed that up in the second frame with RBI hits by Reid Tackett and Will Howard to take a 5-0 lead.
amory starts to rally
But the Panthers tried to chip away, bagging three runs in the fourth. That included RBI hits by Jake Childs and Cory Murphy.
Pontotoc then added a key insurance run in the bottom of the fourth on a walk and a hit by Tackett.
That run proved to be important as the Panthers mounted a comeback in the top of the seventh. Hayden Williams and Childs had RBI hits to pull Amory within a run, but Kennedy struck out two of the three batters he faced to stifle the rally.
“We came out flat and did not make the routine plays,” Amory head coach Chad Williams said. “We’ve got to win one next week to win the division, and that’s going to be tough for us.”