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Kidd leads Pontotoc’s rally over Brookhaven

Caleb Kidd led the Pontotoc Warriors into hostile territoryThursday night and the senior pitcher responded with a victoriousperformance on Moyer Field. An overflow crowd watched Kidd overcomea 5-1 deficit and spark the Warriors to a 6-5 victory over theBrookhaven Panthers in the opening game of the Class 4A StateChampionship Series.

Kidd (12-1), allowed only 2 hits after Brookhaven’s 5-run, 5-hitthird inning. He struck out 9 batters, walked 3 and scattered 8hits.

In the seventh inning, Brookhaven’s Grant McDonnieal drew a baseon balls with 2 out. An overflow crowd, estimated at 1,200 rose totheir feet and watched Kidd strike out Scotty Smith to secure thevictory.

The best-of-three series continues Saturday at Pontotoc (33-4),with game time set for 3 p.m. If the Panthers (28-8) can author avictory, a third and decisive game will be played next Saturday,May 22, at Smith-Wills Stadium in Jackson.

“It was another great high school game,” said Pontotoc coachPhil Webb. “We knew Brookhaven could swing the bats. Our guys did agood job of chipping away and battling.

“Caleb’s adrenalin started pumping,” Webb pointed out. “He’s asenior leader who gave a gutsy performance.”

Webb’s Warriors were aided by 5 Brookhaven fielding errors plusa passed ball and a wild pitch.

The Warriors scored the winning run in the sixth inning. Kidddrew a base on balls off Panther pitcher Brooks Hall. Kidd advancedto second on a fielding error by second baseman Elliot Warren andreached third base on a sacrifice fly by Hayes Gregory. Jacob Kiddhit a grounder to first base and his brother scored the go-aheadrun.

Brookhaven coach Randy Spring said he was disappointed by histeam’s performance. “Our bats kind of went cold after that one biginning. We needed to put the ball in play. We need betterat-bats.”

Spring said he was optimistic about Saturday’s game. “We madefive errors and we still only lost by one run. Hopefully we can goup there and win and beat them again next Saturday.”

The Panthers exploded for 5 runs on 5 hits in the third inning,ignited by rightfielder W.T. King’s 2-run homer over the left fieldfence. It gave Brookhaven a 2-1 advantage.

“It was a pretty pitch,” said King. “I think it was a curveball.I knew I had to get a big hit because I had just made an error,”allowing Pontotoc to score its first run.

Asked about his team’s lack of offense in the last four innings,King said, “He’s (Kidd) a good pitcher. He threw the breaking ballearly and we started swinging at some bad pitches.”

After King’s homer had regained the lead, Brookhaven plated 3more runs as 10 batters went to the plate in the third. DariusPerkins beat out a single to deep short and Xavier Qualls launchedan RBI double to the left field fence. Hall singled to center andAdam Ogden’s grounder to third drove in the fourth run. Smithdoubled to left field and it was 5-1.

The Warriors scored 1 run in the fourth and 3 more in the fifthto gain a 5-5 deadlock. Hamilton’s RBI single scored courtesyrunner Jarrod Duff. Jacob Kidd, who had doubled over the first basebag, scored the fourth run on a wild pitch Carey Walker’s RBIsingle rolled behind second base and allowed Nathan Hamilton toscore the fifth run, setting off a loud celebration by the severalhundred Pontotoc fans who had made the 4-hour drive toBrookhaven.

Hall (10-3), a senior right-hander, went the distance andabsorbed the loss. He struck out 7 batters and walked 2, giving up4 earned runs.