HATTIESBURG- The Pontotoc Red Sox opened the 2019 American Senior Legion State Baseball Tournament with an 8-0 victory over local rival the North Mississippi Indians (Amory), a team with a number of Pontotoc County players.
Starting pitcher Zachary Willingham had an extremely effective outing, allowing four hits and striking out 10 in 5 2/3 innings to pick up the win.
After two scoreless frames, Pontotoc jumped on top in the third inning against Amory starter Carson Newell (South Pontotoc). Cole Phillips (West Union) and Cade Spratlin (Bruce) drew walks, with Phillips coming home on a passed ball to score the game's opening run. The Red Sox then proceeded to string together three straight two-out RBI base hits from Kelton Hall (Ingomar), Blaine Ware (South Panola) and Kylan Carter (Houston) to take a 4-0 lead.
Pontotoc added a run in the fourth. Bailey Albritton (Grenada) walked and scored on a double from Ethan Dyer (North Pontotoc), but the Red Sox missed a chance to open the game up by leaving the bases loaded. The Indians threatened in the bottom half of the inning. A hit batsman and single from Alan Hall (South Pontotoc) put two runners on with one out, but Willingham got a strikeout and a fly out to escape unscathed.
Carter drew a walk to open the fifth, followed by bunt singles from McGregor Lee (Calhoun City) and Phillips. Albritton then grounded out to bring home Carter, extending the lead to 6-0. With two outs, Lee raced home on a wild pitch, and Dyer smacked a single to right field to plate Phillips for a 8-0 advantage.
The Indians loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth, but Phillips, who had entered in relief of Willingham with two outs, ended the inning with a strikeout. Both teams went three up, three down in the seventh, with Phillips picking up two more K's.
Dyer had a pair of hits and two RBIs for the Red Sox. Hall (South Pontotoc) went 3-3 with double and pair of singles for the Indians.