By Parrish Alford
In the overall scope of things, Larry Harmon isn’t surprised.
Coaches rarely are, and Tupelo High School’s baseball coach takes in stride the Golden Wave’s 10-2 pre-division record. That’s in spite of six new starters and a cluster of juniors with precious little game experience at the beginning of the season.
As Tupelo opens 2-5A play at home tonight at 7 against Grenada, the Wave is a couple of runs from being 12-0. Losses to Nettleton and New Hope, the only blemishes this season, were each by a run. Tupelo has won six in a row.
“We felt like as the season went on that these guys would hit the ball,” Harmon said.
The hitting has been there from the beginning. Tupelo averaged 14 runs a game, scoring a total of 70 in five Spring Break games last week. The offense has been so impressive it has overshadowed areas that need some work.
“There’s still a lot of room for improvement,” Harmon said. “There are still things we have to cut down on to be a good club.”
Pitching comes to mind first.
“We have to be more consistent there,” Harmon said. “We walked eight people against Louisville (a 17-7 win) and five scored. In close games those things will come back to haunt you. We can’t do that in the division.”
So far the hitting has made close games a minimum. Senior left fielder Duncan Foster was 5-for-6 against Louisville and is hitting .545 for the season. Mel McElroy gives Tupelo two players over the .500 mark with a .526 average. Five other regulars are hitting over .300.
In addition, the Wave has hit 11 home runs this season.
“That’s been a surprise,” Harmon said. “That’s been a bonus for us. We still think we’ll be a singles and doubles team running the bases.”
All told, the pre-division report card would be a B-plus.
“Coach (Ken) Smith and I were evaluating Monday, and we’re real pleased with the progress after 12 games,” Harmon said.
“We looked at the things we’ve done well, but we also have to look at the things we haven’t done well. We need to cut down on mistakes, but we think we can do that and continue to improve as a team.”