Oxford moves to 4-0 with win over North Pontotoc

Published 10:03 am Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Oxford baseball cruised to a victory Monday night as they hung double-digit runs on the scoreboard for the fourth straight game to start the season in a 13-0 victory over North Pontotoc.

The Chargers (4-0) took care of business early on, plating six in the second, four in the third and three in the fourth to open up a massive lead.

They enjoyed solid production from the bottom of the order after struggling to turn the lineup over in their first three outings as seniors Drew Carter and Sam Roy drew their first starts in left and right field, respectively.

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Carter took advantage of his opportunity, recording a pair of base hits in the victory including a sharply-hit double to the gap in left-center that helped spark a big second inning.

“The way that our top two, our top five really, are swinging it, our 7-8-9 are such a crucial part of our lineup,” said head coach Cade Hoggard. “They gotta be able to move runners, they gotta be able to get on base. Drew Carter stepping in, he works so hard… that was huge.”

The offensive explosion provided a comfortable advantage for Thomas Rayburn, who drew the first start of his varsity career on the mound in the victory.

The junior righty made quick work of the Vikings’ lineup, tossing four scoreless innings while allowing just four batters to reach base.

He used a mid-eighties fastball to effectively set up a looping breaking ball that left batters swinging out of their shoes and whiffing at air.

“He attacked with the fastball on both sides of the plate, was able to throw a breaking ball, which is good. He really kept them off-balance,” said Hoggard.

Rayburn handed the ball over to Jack Gaia in the fifth, who worked quickly to get the final three outs as he struck out the first two batters he faced before forcing a groundout to short to end the game.

“Those were three big outs for him. [He’s] not a guy that’s been pitching a lot, kind of a guy that we said ‘look we may need you’ so it was good to get him in there and see positives,” Hoggard said of Gaia’s performance.

The Chargers moved to 4-0 on the season with the victory and now move on to face Madison-Ridgeland Academy at home Friday.