By Blake Long/Special to the Journal
HOUSTON – Phil Webb wants his entire pitching staff to be fresh and ready to go when his Pontotoc Warriors begin a stretch of three division games in four days next week.
Webb was able to accomplish just that Saturday. He threw four pitchers, none more than two innings, in Pontotoc’s 11-0, six-inning win over Houston.
“We didn’t want to burn anybody and we knew we was going to throw most of our staff tonight,” Webb said. “We did exactly what we wanted to do. Everybody can come back on Monday and be available.”
Reid Tackett and Hayden Kennedy both saw two innings apiece while starter Chance Witt and Ethan Gill pitched solo innings to freshen their arms and prepare for a key week in the Division 1-4A race.
The Warriors face Corinth Monday in a make-up from this past Friday then take on Tishomingo County Tuesday and Thursday in 1-4A play.
But the use of numerous pitchers helped Pontotoc do more than set up their staff for next week.
It also seemed to throw Houston’s bats off balance this night.
The Hilltoppers had only two hits, both coming in the fourth inning off Gill. Houston loaded the bases that inning before a line shot off the bat of Austin Burdine was caught in left field by Blake Davis to end the threat.
“We just didn’t quite get that timely hit like we needed,” Houston coach Scott Gann said. “They played pretty good defense behind us. We just hit some right at them.”
Tackett (2-0) faced the minimum in the second and third innings to collect the win in relief.
Opposite of Pontotoc, the Hilltoppers (13-6) did not have a full staff available after defeating Caledonia earlier in the day in a Division 4-4A contest.
The Warriors (15-3) took full advantage in the first inning by scoring six runs with the help of three errors off Houston starter Reid Carter (1-2). Jacob Stokes and Tackett both had run scoring hits in the frame.
Denver McQuary and Sharone Wright finished the game for the Hilltoppers, allowing five runs over the final five frames.
“We wanted to see what some younger guys are gonna do,” Gann said. “It was kinda the end of the staff too, it’s been a long week.”
Hayden Cummings added a run scoring double in the seventh while Zach Gory and Gill had multiple hits to lead Pontotoc.