Oxford Charger lefty keeps Tupelo Golden Wave off balance in first loss

By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal

AMORY – Ben Hudspeth pitched well on Thursday night. So did his counterpart, Hunt Halford. The only difference in their outings was that Halford was able to escape relatively unscathed with runners in scoring position.
Oxford High struck Hudspeth with back-to-back hits by William Elliott and Zac Barber in the top of the fourth and Barber homered in the top of the sixth, as the Chargers held on for a 2-1 win over Tupelo High at the Amory Tournament.
“I throw a lot of off-speed stuff, try to mix it up, pitch backwards at times and try to hit my spots,” said Halford, a left-handed senior who improved to 2-0 on the young season.
Halford kept the Golden Wave hitters off balance, striking out five, scattering five hits (two doubles to Cody Shrewsbury) and allowing three walks in five innings.
“I think that had a lot to do with it,” the Oxford lefty said of his off-speed stuff, “because their big hitters try to hit the ball hard and throwing off-speed stuff kind of gets them out on their front foot.”
Hudspeth (1-1), meanwhile, pitched well, often getting ahead of hitters as he ended up with 14 strikeouts in going the distance for Tupelo (2-1).
Credit the Chargers (2-2), though, for getting to him in the middle innings.
In the fourth inning, Elliott led off with a double down the left-field line and Barber followed with a single up the middle to score Elliott from second with the game’s first run.
“Hudspeth, he definitely pitched well,” Barber said. “His fastball had zip on it and he controlled his curveball.”
The Chargers, who left two runners on third in the game, got their second run when Barber blasted a solo homer to left center in the top of the sixth.
The Golden Wave loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth, but couldn’t push any runs across.
With the help of Barber, Halford was responsible for only one run. Barber came on in the bottom of the sixth with runners on second and third with no outs, and allowed just a RBI sacrifice fly to Grant Spencer.
The Wave had runners on first and second in the last half of the seventh before Barber struck out two consecutive hitters to earn his first save of the season.