PEARL — Third time was the charm.
Behind the pitching of James Clay McGregor along with timely hitting North Pontotoc got past Magee 9-1 to claim the MHSAA Baseball Class 3A State Championship at Trustmark Park on Thursday afternoon.
It is the Vikings (23-8) first state title in school history. North Pontotoc were runner-ups in 4A in 2011 to Columbia and last year to St. Andrew’s.
“It is very sweet and proud of this group we’ve overcome a lot this year with injuries and they never let up,” said North Pontotoc coach Chad Anthony. “We got hot in the middle of the playoffs swinging the bat and had a lot of confidence and the guys had a feeling they could win.”
North Pontotoc would score five of their nine runs off of Magee errors including their first four runs of the game.
“We’ve been preaching for 21 hard outs and the pressure was all on them to keep playing and we put as much pressure on them as we could,” Anthony said. “Bunted the ball great all week and just put the ball in play and made some things happen.”
Ty Roberson and Hence Hooper had two hits each to lead North Pontotoc offensively. Sheffield Anthony and Ethan Dyer each had a two-run single.
“There was a whole lot leading up to this game we’ve had our sights set on this game since last year. It was a hard road to get back here.,” Corley Hooper said. “This year we were set, and we had injury after injury and losing division games. All season we’ve just been tough and never let up. This is an amazing feeling after all I have been through with injuries and fought back and going out on top is really what we wanted to do.”
James Clay McGregor got the win on the mound for the Vikings tossing a complete game giving up just three hits, one earned run, no walks and two strikeouts.
“These guys are so stinking competitive and after we got on the bus last year after the way we loss it was a hard feeling to get rid of, but we always believed that we could win and the experience down here helped,” Anthony said. “They weren’t going to let that feeling of winning get away and I am so proud of them.”
Seth Russell had two hits to lead Magee, while Brennon McNair took the loss on the mound for the Trojans (30-8), who were in the 3A state championship for the first time in school history.