Rye McGlothin helps New Hope hold off Pontotoc in 4A playoff

 

New Hope pitcher Rye McGlothin lets out a shout to celebrate the final strike in Thursday night’s 7-6 MHSAA Class 4A win over Pontotoc at New Hope.

New Hope pitcher Rye McGlothin lets out a shout to celebrate the final strike in Thursday night’s 7-6 MHSAA Class 4A win over Pontotoc at New Hope. Photo by: Chris McDill/Special to the Dispatch

 

Paul Bowker

 

 

When Rye McGlothin of New Hope threw a third strike past Pontotoc's Reed Imison on Thursday night, McGlothin celebrated by shouting and pumping his fists into the air. 

 

The moment was special. 

 

The strikeout finished off a nail-biting 7-6 victory in a game played at New Hope, and pulled the Trojans to within one game of the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) state championship series in Class 4A. 

 

"I'm proud of him," New Hope coach Lee Boyd said. "He came in and did a good job in a tough spot." 

 

New Hope (24-5) can win the 4A North championship with a win tonight at Pontotoc, although threatening weather all weekend is throwing up a challenge of its own. 

 

If rain persists all weekend, and Game 2 of the best-of-three series isn't played until Monday, it backs the schedule up against the start of the 4A championship series. The best-of-three title series begins Wednesday at Trustmark Park in Pearl, where all of the state's championship baseball series are being held next week. 

 

New Hope's coaches and players began Thursday afternoon by joining in the process of removing tarps and clearing the water off the field at Trojan Field so that Game 1 could be played. It's all in a day's work. 

 

But for now, forget about the weather. The Trojans have Thursday's win to celebrate. 

 

New Hope cruised to a 7-0 lead in Thursday's game, and chased Pontotoc starting pitcher Bryce Deaton out of the game before the second inning was over. The Trojans' first four hitters all reached base in the first inning and all scored. When Hayes Lumsden scored his second run in the second inning on a triple by Tyler Murphy, New Hope was ahead 5-0 and Deaton got the hook. 

 

But Pontotoc roared back in the fifth inning, scoring six runs on just two hits. 

 

"Feel like you're doing well, then we just kind of lost focus there in that one inning," Boyd said. "Three or four walks, and a big hit, you look up, man, they're running and rolling." 

 

New Hope starter Peyton Springfield, who had shut out Amory last week in Game 1 of the 4A North semifinals, has been on cruise control through four innings. He struck out the side in the first inning. Then, he did the same in the second inning. And again in the third. He allowed one hit in four innings. 

 

That all changed in the fifth inning. Imison led off the inning with a single and scored on a double by Hayden Harris. Another single, three walks and a hit batter resulted in four more runs until Boyd ended the night for Springfield and brought in McGlothin from left field to pitch. 

 

After a fielder's choice scored a sixth run, McGlothin struck out Deaton to end the inning. He pitched two scoreless innings after that to earn a save and give the Trojans a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series. 

 

"He's just a competitor," Boyd said of McGlothin. "His velocity is not what S;pringfield's is, but he throws a cutter and a curveball, kind of keeps them off balance. He's done that all year. The guy's been our go-to guy out of the bullpen." 

 

McGlothin also had a big night at the plate, reaching base three times in four at-bats and scoring what proved to be the game-winning run in the fourth inning. 

 

 

 

 

Paul Bowker is sports editor for The Dispatch.

 

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