By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The Pontotoc Warriors are a rolling stone gathering victories right now.
After some key wins last week, the Warriors continued that momentum Monday as a seventh-inning home run propelled Pontotoc to a 4-1 decision over the Tupelo Golden Wave.
“The last couple of games, you just can’t simulate that in practice,” said Pontotoc coach Phil Webb, whose Warriors are coming off clinching the Division 1-4A title last Tuesday, then stopping red-hot Amory on Saturday. “This is good for the guys, getting that type of pressure.”
The pressure in this contest built as a swift pitchers duel between Pontotoc’s Blake O’Callaghan and Tupelo’s Ben Aldridge was scoreless into the sixth inning. There, both teams finally broke through on the scoreboard.
Pontotoc (20-4) struck in the top half of the sixth as an error and a walk set up a two-out RBI hit by Ethan Gill.
Tupelo (17-8) responded in the bottom of the inning as a walk and a double by Collin Dexter set up a two-out run-scoring hit by Sanders West that tied the score at 1-1.
That led to the seventh heroics of Jake Smithey. The Pontotoc senior ripped a three-run home run to left field, allowing O’Callaghan breeze through the Tupelo lineup on the bottom of the inning, 1-2-3.
“Tupelo is always a good club, and real tough to beat here, so this is a good win,” Webb said. “I think that’s Smithey’s eighth home run this season, and he had a big sixth inning hit Saturday against Amory.
“We’ve got to take these wins and build some confidence.”
With the post-season fast approaching, Tupelo has to build some confidence as well despite this loss.
Tip of the cap
“We had some opportunities to push some runs across, and we didn’t capitalize,” said Tupelo coach Gary Enis, whose Wave left a runner on third base in the third, and a runner on second in the fourth. “You’ve got to tip your cap to Smithey with that home run he hit.
“We’d like to be playing our best ball right now, but maybe this is a learning experience for us.”
Both squads have wrapped up divisions titles, but still have contests left. Pontotoc plays Tishomingo County today, while Tupelo hosts Columbus today at 6 p.m., with the regular season ending Saturday.
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