By Blake Long/Special to the NEMS Daily Jouranl
IUKA – When county rivals Belmont and Tishomingo County play, lights-out performances can be expected – literally.
After a slight delay and playing over an inning with the right field line power pole lights out, Tishomingo County’s Jacob McDuffy lit up Belmont with 10 strikeouts in helping the Braves to a 10-6 victory over the Cardinals in the Tishomingo County Tournament.
“The tone was set when J-Mac (McDuffy) came out in the first inning and threw strikes,” Tishomingo County coach Jerry Long said, “Then when we came in and scored, I thought the tone was set there.”
McDuffy’s stellar performance carried over to the plate as well. The senior reached base every at bat, going 3-4 with 2 RBI’s.
In a back and forth contest, Tishomingo County (8-2-1) took a 2-0 lead in the first inning off back-to-back RBI doubles from McDuffy and Bobby Felker.
After the Cardinals (4-5) cut the lead in half by scoring on a throwing error in the second, the Braves struck with a three run inning in the bottom half capped by RBI singles from Gable Butler and McDuffy to take a 5-1 lead.
Belmont again returned the favor in the third. Chase Parham’s RBI double scored Phillip Armstrong, who had walked a batter earlier. Justin Payne then drove Parham home with a single of his own to cut the lead to 5-3.
However a four-run 4th, capped by Dustin Allen’s two-RBI triple, stole the momentum from Belmont and chased Armstrong (0-2), who started for the Cardinals and went three innings giving up six runs.
“We had our chances, they had their chances,” Belmont coach Andy Deaton said, “I just felt like they took advantage of the mistakes and had the big run innings.”
McDuffy improved to 3-0 on the hill for the Braves, going 51/3 innings and giving up four runs while walking four.
Belmont made the closing innings tense by scoring three runs in the final two frames, but Allen entered and pitched the final 12/3 innings for his first save of the season.