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New Albany improved to 3-0 in division play behind the complete-game performance of Tyler Beaty, Tuesday night against Pontotoc.
The senior allowed three runs off five hits, but for the third game in a row, the Bulldogs hit in double digits, leading to the 4-3 win.
“The thing about Beaty is that even when he’s not at his best, he’s still pretty good. Tonight, he was just pretty good, he wasn’t the tip-top Tyler Beaty, and we need him to get to that,” Bulldogs’ head coach John Walker said. “He just wasn’t sharp, and his pitch count is getting up there because he’s throwing too many balls, and he just needs to get back focused and back to being Tyler Beaty. He’s a little under the weather, but he’s battled through that and got us the win.”
Pontotoc struck first, scoring one run off a walk after loading the bases in the first inning. After that run, Beaty allowed only one hit until the sixth inning.
New Albany tied the game in the bottom half of the first off a single by Beaty and later took the lead in a three-hit fourth inning, where Joshua Googe plated J.D. Morris with his single. Morris finished the game 2-for-3, bringing much needed production to the bottom half of the ‘Dawgs’ batting order.
“J.D.’s been a pleasant surprise,” Walker said. “He’s a guy that got out with us late this year and worked his way into the starting lineup and has performed. Tonight, he had two very good, two strike hits and that’s what we need from guys hitting in that part of the order.”
The Warriors tied the game in the sixth after Kyle Russell hit a double and was brought home on a single by Landon Tutor. Again, New Albany answered after Morris hit a lead off single and Andrew Ballard reached first off an error. Morris scored on a wild pitch and Drew Wray scored Ballard, giving New Albany the two-run advantage heading into the final inning.
Brock Tutor brought in Pontotoc’s final run with his solo shot to open the seventh inning.
Russell finished with two hits for Pontotoc. Taylor Goode had three hits and Riley Alef had two for the Bulldogs, who finished with 11 hits as a team to accompany the 17 they had against Itawamba and 13 against Kossuth.
“We’re swinging the bats better, and that was evident tonight,” Walker said. “Taylor’s been like this the last three or four games, and he’s starting to figure out what it takes to be a good hitter. Riley’s going to be consistent, that’s why he’s in that part of the line-up for us. I feel confident he’s going to remain consistent.”
Working on the little mistakes, executing what they learn in practice, is something Walker hopes will improve the further his team plays in division.
“We’re struggling to execute the things that we’ve practiced over and over, and when we get to the game, we’re just not executing,” Walker said. “That’s frustrating as a coach, and what that is is poor coaching. If I can’t teach them to make it second nature and teach them that execution is essential, then that’s my fault and I take full responsibility. We’ve got to get better at it.”
Now at 12-4 (3-0), New Albany will next play against the same Pontotoc squad on the road this Friday before back-to-back division games against Shannon next week.