By Thomas Sellers Jr.
In his first year with the Munford Cougars, Scotty Yount has preached the simple philosophy to his players of taking care of the little things while worrying about self.
That mindset came in handy April 10 on the Brighton Baseball Field with the game tied 2-2 after one inning of action. Behind the starting pitching of Corey Simmons, the Cougars held the rival Brighton Cardinals scoreless the rest of the District 13-3A contest to prevail 7-2.
“They can swing it,” Yount said of Brighton. “When they answered right back with two in the bottom after we scored two, I was a little worried about how our mentality was going to be. But I could feel the intensity in the dugout, the rivalry.
“This was my first time,” he continued. “They stayed the course and battled. What a job by Corey Simmons. C Smooth is what they call him.”
The C Smooth chants from the Munford dugout seemed to settle the nerves of the senior ace. His battery mate Kyle Kelley called an effective game from behind the plate with some assistance.
“I give Kyle a lot of freedom,” Yount noted. “He calls a lot of our pitches. The first inning he came in and said, ‘They can swing it. I need some help.’ I started calling them after that first inning and I think it helped eased his nerves a little bit.
“With Corey, he has to have some trust in who’s calling pitches too,” he added. “I give him a little bit freedom too. He can shake off certain pitches in certain situations. It worked out for us tonight.”
Simmons has a lead to work with by the second inning when teammate Austin Cousar stole second base leading to a bad throw from the Cardinals.
Once the ball rolled into the outfield, Cousar blazed around third heading home to make the score 3-2.
In the top of the fourth inning Cougar Austin Perry led off the inning with a single. After Cousar reached base with a bunt single, Perry was in scoring position.
Another Brighton miscue led to Perry scoring. The pass ball allowed Perry to cross home plate and make the score 4-2.
Simmons cursed along and kept the Brighton lineup in check. The Cougars added some insurance runs in the seventh inning crossing home three times.
Simmons finished the complete game effort only giving up a TJ Klutts double in the seventh inning. The Cougars won the game 7-2 and looked forward to the rematch with their Tipton County rivals.
Yount said the recipe that helped Munford win the first contest with Brighton will be the key to success in Game Two.
“We’re going to have to have another good outing on the mound,” he said. “Their lineup is really, really tough to pitch to. We’re going to have to play good defense behind it too. We don’t have a guy who’s going to strikeout 10. We know we’re going to have to play defense.
“We’ve got to have another performance to where we’re throwing multiple pitches for strikes in different count,” Yount concluded. “We have to make sure we’re making plays and executing offensively to give ourselves a chance.”
Munford won the rematch 6-3 at home. After a 12-7 defeat to the Arlington Tigers, the Cougars closed out the week with a 9-8 win over South Pemiscot (Missouri).
Meanwhile Brighton’s tough week continued dropping games to Christian Brothers High School and Magnolia Heights (Mississippi) 8-3 and 7-3 respectively.