TUPELO Having Caleb Hobson in the lineup can make a world of difference for the Pontotoc Red Sox.

He’ll be there this weekend for the American Senior Legion State Tournament, which begins today at Northeast Mississippi CC in Booneville. Pontotoc will face Panola at 7 p.m.

Hobson is Pontotoc’s only player with junior college experience. As a freshman for Northwest, he led the team in batting average (.344) and stolen bases (17).

Hobson has missed a few games for the Red Sox (13-4). His presence could have a huge impact on the outcome of the state tournament.

“It’s a big difference,” Pontotoc coach Nickey Browning said. “… He’s probably a lot of the energy on the team now.”

Hobson, who bats leadoff, has played center field and shortstop this season for the Sox. Browning said he’ll be in center field this weekend.

“He’s got so much ability out there. He saves a bunch of runs because he can run them down,” Browning said.

Hobson alone won’t be enough to bring Pontotoc its first state title since 2016. Tupelo (21-2) is the odds-on favorite to win the tournament.

But, first things first. Logan Stewart will start on the mound tonight; he started against Panola on July 14 in a 14-0 Pontotoc win.

If the Red Sox can stretch their pitching, Browning believes they have a chance to make a title run.

“You never have the pitching depth you need,” he said with a wry laugh. “I’ve got four or five guys that can throw, and then if I just get in a jam, I could run somebody else in.”

Games today and Friday will be at NEMCC due to field conditions, and then the tournament will move to Golden Wave Field in Tupelo on Saturday.

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