Flashes’ comeback bid falls short

Published 10:46 am Wednesday, March 12, 2014

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St. Aloysius hit the ball pretty well.
North Pontotoc hit it really well.
North Pontotoc scored 12 runs on 12 hits in the first four innings Tuesday, and went on to beat St. Al 13-10 in a wild, rainy game at Bazinsky Field.
St. Al trailed by eight runs heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, but managed to get the winning run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh. As a steady rain varied in intensity from drizzle to downpour, North Pontotoc reliever Trey Jolly struck out three of the four batters he faced to finally douse the Flashes’ comeback bid.
“I wish we could’ve started the game like we ended it. We started off real slow. It’s hard to come back from that,” St. Al shortstop Matthew Foley said. “We’ve got a bunch of basketball guys that are just coming back, so I think it’s just a little bit of rust. Midway through the season I think we’ll get it going.”
Six of St. Al’s 14 hits in the game went for extra bases. That included a two-run home run by Ben Welp and a pair of doubles by George Tzotzolas, was was 3-for-3.
The Flashes (2-4), though, couldn’t recover from a devastating early barrage by North Pontotoc (8-2).
Seven of the Vikings’ first 12 batters got hits, helping them take a 6-0 lead after an inning and a half. Jolly and Cole Loggins had RBI singles, and Colby Graham had an RBI double.
North Pontotoc added three more runs in both the third and fourth innings to stay a step ahead of St. Al’s warming bats, and put one more run on the board in the sixth to lead 13-5.
“They’re a solid hitting team, but I also was leaving the ball up in the zone and missed a few spots here and there. I struggled with off-speed in the first couple of innings,” said St. Al pitcher Pat Murphy, who gave up nine runs on 11 hits in three innings.
St. Al made one last push at a comeback in the sixth and seventh innings. They strung together four straight hits to start the bottom of the sixth, then Lane Hynum capped the three-run rally with an RBI double to cut it to 13-8.
Two walks and a hit batter brought in another run in the seventh, and Foley cut it to 13-10 with a two-out RBI single. Jolly got Hynum to chase an outside pitch for strike three, however, to end the game with the bases loaded.
“I was impressed, honestly, with our whole lineup the way we executed, the way we battled,” said Murphy, who drove in three runs with a fielder’s choice, RBI single and a bases loaded walk. “I think we did a great job at the end of battling, keeping our heads and not trying to do too much. I think we did good today, as far as the latter part of the game goes.”
Most of the last two innings were played in steady rain that made playing conditions treacherous.
Tzotzolas had a wet bat fly out of his hands on a swing in the bottom of the seventh. During a pitching change that same half-inning, St. Al coaches Derrik Boland and Brady Ellis worked to shore up the footing on the mound and home plate area while Jolly warmed up.
“I’d say the only bad part, really, is getting the mud caked up on your cleats and the ball getting slippery and your glove getting heavy,” Murphy said. “When you’d hit, it would drip down off your helmet. It wasn’t too bad. It was kind of fun. As a kid, I always liked playing in the rain.”

Ridgeland 2, VHS 1
Ridgeland (2-4) scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and held on to beat Vicksburg (1-5) at the Ridgeland spring break tournament on Tuesday.
Sean East held Ridgeland to four hits and struck out three while tossing a complete game, but for the second straight day the Gators’ hitters couldn’t back up their pitcher.
Vicksburg only had six hits, two of them by Will Martin.
On Monday, the Gators had five hits and scored one run in a 3-1 loss to Madison Central, spoiling another complete-game effort by Jekori Reed.
The Gators have a week to figure it out. They’re off until next Tuesday, when they play at Pearl in the first of four consecutive division games.

PCA 6, Benton 2
Hunter Lyons drove in two runs, Jeremy Williams had two hits and an RBI, and Porters Chapel Academy scored five times in the fourth inning to beat Benton Academy.
Taylor Rushing added two hits for PCA. Sam Kirk pitched six innings, allowing two runs and a walk while striking out six.

PCA 6, Bayou 4
Porters Chapel Academy (5-6) scored six runs in the bottom of the second inning to beat Bayou Academy in the semifinals of the Benton Academy spring break tournament.
Peyton Guider doubled in two runs during the big second inning, and Booth Buys also had a double. Steven Busma drove in a run and pitched a complete game.
The game was shortened to four innings because of a 90-minute tournament time limit. PCA was to play Winston Academy in the championship game, but it was rained out.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured sports reporters in the paper's 137-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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