HOUSTON – The emotional roller-coaster ride has begun with the Houston Hilltoppers winning the District4, 4A title on Thursday and turning around and faltering on Saturday.
“I told them to get some rest this week and realize we have to win two games a week for the next four weeks,” said Houston baseball coach Scott Gann, after closing out the season against East Webster on Saturday. “We've played a lot of close games with a lot of emotion and I think Thursday's win drained them.
“I told them we either win or go home, now,” said Gann. “This is what we've worked for.”
The Toppers lost to West Lauderdale at home on Tuesday, 3-2, beat West Lauderdale there, 2-1, topped Calhoun City 9-2, and then lost to East Webster 1-0.
They are tentatively scheduled to play Amory at 6 p.m. Thursday in the first round of the MHSAA Playoffs at Topper Field in Houston and then travel to Amory on Friday. If needed the third game will be played in Houston on Saturday.
W Lauderdale 1
COLLINSVILLE – It was a classing pitching duel with Houston's Clay Hillhouse gunning them down.
Hillhouse gave up four hits and stuck out five in Thursday's critical match. The game was scoreless through five innings.
Houston notched two runs in the sixth and the Knights came back with a run of their own in the bottom of the frame – but it wasn't enough. Reid Carter and Denver McQuary were credited with the RBIs.
The win clinched the Region 4, 4A District Title for Houston.
Calhoun City 9
HOUSTON – The Toppers brought the District championship feeling back home and pounded Calhoun Saturday morning.
Colton Peel looked good on the mound striking out 10 and going all seven innings.
The Toppers had 9 hits and jumped out to a 5 run lead in the first inning. Reid Cater and Denver McQuary notched two hits each. Clay Hillhouse was credited with 2 RBI and Hunter Moore got one, too.
East Webster 1,
HOUSTON – The bats just didn't show up as the Toppers ran out of gas in their last regular season game with East Webster.
“This made their season,” said Gann. “I don't make any excuses, but we were coming off the high of winning the district and I think we just ran out of gas.”
Garrison Howell notched both of Houston's hits. The Toppers stranded several but never made a strong showing at the plate.
Tanner Smith went five innings for the Toppers and was relieved by Howell. Smith struck out nine.