By Kedrick Storey/Southern Sentinel
KOSSUTH – An early key Division 1-3A showdown between the Kossuth Aggies and the Ripley Tigers on Friday night proved to be a pitchers duel. In the end it was the more seasoned of the two pitchers who claimed the victory.
Senior Tyler Nelms struck out 13 Tiger batters, while the offense took advantage of Ripley miscues late in the game to scratch out the 3-0 victory.
Kossuth ran its record to 10-3, but more importantly 2-0 in league play. Ripley (11-4) dropped to 1-2.
“This is very important, a big step,” Nelms said about the win.
The right-hander said he thought he would pitch well while warming up, and it showed. Ripley never had more than one base runner in any inning. Nelms got through the third on just five pitches. Ripley senior Austin Reed was the only batter with any success with two hits, including a double in the fourth.
“I felt good in the bullpen and I knew I would do good. When I’ve felt like that, I haven’t had a bad game all year,” added Nelms who improved to 4-1.
Pitching opposite of Nelms was Ripley’s Graydon Grady (4-1) who threw “well enough to win,” according to Tigers coach Joel Gafford.
The sophomore left-handed scattered seven hits with just one walk, but five Ripley errors – four in the a two-run sixth for the Aggies – was too much to overcome with Nelms on the mound.
Grady handcuffed Kossuth’s No. 3 hitter David Gibson for his only two strike-outs of the game. Gibson had the last laugh however. Down to his last strike, he broke through for an RBI-single in the fifth for a 1-0 lead and the eventual game-winner.
“Hats off to Nelms. He threw well for us tonight,” said Kossuth coach Daniel Threadgill, “but Ripley’s pitcher threw well too.”
“It was a pitcher’s duel. We were able to get some hits out of the top of our lineup when we needed it.”