Sumrall snaps five-game state championship losing streak with walk-off win over Pontotoc

·2 min read

PEARL - Ethan Aultman will never forget the moment he saw the ball skip past the third baseman's  glove.

The senior infielder was up in the bottom of the eighth inning looking to break the tie and send the game to extra innings. He got a pitch he liked and ripped the ball down the third-base line for an RBI double to scored the winning run.

The walk-off hit gave Sumrall a 6-5 win over Pontotoc on Tuesday night in the first game of the MHSAA Class 4A state championship series.

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"I was really just trying to put it in play, you see where I didn't get the sac bunt down there," Aultman said. "I was really just trying to pass it along to the next guy but it worked out for me and we got the win."

Sumrall (34-1) is now one win away from claiming its first state title since 2015. The Bobcats will play Pontotoc (29-9) again on Thursday at 4 p.m.

The win snapped a five-game losing streak in state championship games, according to coach Andy Davis.

"I was sitting there in the chair thinking 'What can we do?' " Davis said. "We had a great week of practice last week, hit the ball well, played defense. Maybe this broke the curse and we sacrifice a chicken or something."

Sumrall was trailing by four runs in the seventh inning, but rallied to close the deficit and force extra innings.

"With 16 seniors, they keep each other up," Davis said. "I've had teams in the past that had maybe one or two leaders. I'll tell you what, there's about 10 or 12 in there. They're leading not their own. It was 5-1, but they were acting like it was 4-4 or 5-5 even when we were down. That's a testament to them."

Ethan Aultman hit a walk-off RBI double to secure a 6-5 win for Sumrall in Game 1 of the Class 4A state championship series
Ethan Aultman hit a walk-off RBI double to secure a 6-5 win for Sumrall in Game 1 of the Class 4A state championship series

Aultman said that seeing other teams make postseason rallies against Sumrall gave him the confidence that the Bobcats could make a clutch comeback of their own.

"We knew it could be done, back in 2019 our guys had the lead maybe 7-2 going into the last inning and that team came back and beat our guys. We just knew it could be done and we never stopped believing," Davis said. "That's the big thing for us."

This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Sumrall snaps five-game state championship losing streak with walk-off