By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The first pitch David Gibson threw off a mound – any mound, for that matter – on Saturday was the first pitch of his Mississippi North Stars’ game against the Itawamba Cardinals.
Not warming up in the bullpen led to nine straight balls and two walks to open the Tupelo 49ers Round Robin contest at Golden Wave Field.
Fortunately for the righty, he escaped the first inning without allowing a run and didn’t walk anyone after a shaky second, as he got into a groove, holding the Cardinals to five hits in going the distance of his team’s 4-3 victory.
“I don’t know why,” Gibson said about not warming up in the bullpen. “I just didn’t.”
Andrew Soper’s single to right after two successful bunts scored the Cards’ first run in the top of the second, and they added two more in the frame on a double steal and a misplayed fly ball in left.
Seth Davis homered to left to cut the Cardinals’ lead to 3-2.
The score would remain that way until the fifth when a throwing error led to the tying run. Then, in the next inning, Davis’ double to left scored Drew Carter, who doubled to lead off, with the eventual winning run.
After the second inning, Gibson didn’t walk anyone and ended up with five strikeouts. Not too bad for someone who didn’t warm up in the bullpen prior.
“First game I’ve ever done that,” said Gibson, who will be a senior at Kossuth High in the fall. “First and last.”
49ers 10, Cardinals 1
Cardinals coach Chad Cooley was certainly disappointed to see his team’s bats struggle for another game.
After being held to five hits against the Stars, Cooley’s club only collected four versus the 49ers.
“Since this heat hit,” Cooley said about when his team began its slump.
You could certainly say Channing Nanney (4-1) and Will Cox had a lot to do with the Cardinals’ struggles offensively on Saturday. They combined for four 1-2-3 innings.
Ben Hudspeth, Kirk Roberts and Anthony Mallard provided run-scoring base hits for the 49ers.
Stars 14, 49ers 7
Seth Davis continued his hot streak at the with a three-hit performance that included a double and two runs scored.
Lew Johnson, who scored four times, provided a solo homer to left with two outs in the fourth. The Stars would cross the plate five times with two outs in that inning.
Will Cox homered in the third for Tupelo, which defeated the Stars 2-1 on Friday.