SPRINGVILLE- South Pontotoc just could never get anything going against the Mooreville pitching staff, and the Troopers got key hits and took advantage of a number of costly South mistakes to sweep the Cougars in their second round 3A baseball playoff series last weekend.
The Troopers allowed a total of two runs in 9-1 and 8-1 victories on Friday and Saturday. South could scrape together only five hits in the series, and 10 total errors in the field gave Mooreville plenty of opportunities.
“I thought our pitching gave us a chance, but we just didn’t make the plays behind them,” Cougars coach Bryan Buckner said after Saturday’s game two loss. “We had opportunities to keep it a close game, but we couldn’t score when we needed to.
In game one on Friday Mooreville (22-8) plated nine runs on 10 hits to win 9-1. Trace Henry (9-1) picked up the win on the mound for the Troopers, also leading the squad with four hits. The Cougars had four total hits from Colton Priest, Jonathan Weeks, Carson Newell and Barrett Griggs.
Saturday in game two South answered Mooreville’s opening run when Weeks hit a solo homer in the bottom of the 2nd inning, but that would prove to be the lone run and hit of the day for the Cougars. Andrew Peugh gave the Troopers the lead with an RBI double in the top of the 3rd. Three more runs came home in the 4th on a error a, RBI sacrifice fly by Hunter Brannigan, and a RBI single from Andy Franks to make it 5-1. Another run in the 6th on a second RBI hit from Franks and two final runs in the 7th on an error and bloop RBI double by Brent Cummins finished out the 9-1 victory.
Mooreville’s Will Armistead tossed a complete game and struck out seven, allowing the one hit on Week’s home run.
“He did a great job; he kept us off balance,” Buckner said. “They’ve got a good team.”
South closes out the 2017 campaign with a 19-11 record after winning only eight games last season. The Cougars 1st for first in Division 4-3A with a 6-2 region mark.
“It was big for our seniors; I am happy they were able to go out with a successful season,” Buckner said.
“I am very proud of what this team did this year. This is our best season since 2009 (when the Cougars were 3A North Half champs). We were able to win a share of the division championship, which hasn’t been done here since 1997. We played every sophomore we had, so hopefully that gave them some experience that will pay dividends for us next year.”