By Brandon Speck/Monroe Journal
SMITHVILLE – Tupelo Christian Prep watched as Division 4-1A foe Smithville left the Eagles’ home field earlier this season with an 8-2 win.
TCPS got its revenge and a little more in an 11-3 win Thursday night in Smithville.
Itawamba-signee Will Cockrell baffled the Seminoles with 15 strikeouts, fighting through seven walks, and allowing only two hits in six innings of work. He gave way to Drew Carter in the seventh.
“The guy just battled through,” TCPS coach Will Lowrey said. “He’s a senior leader for us. We’re going to go as far as he’ll take us.”
The loss was the first division loss for Smithville, tying the two atop the standings with TCPS owning a potential runs tiebreaker.
The Eagles (15-2-1, 8-1) took a 3-0 lead in the first against Landon Carter and after Smithville cut into it with a run in the bottom of the inning, TCPS tacked on three more in the fourth and five in an error-filled top of the fifth.
“There were a number of things that went wrong tonight,” Smithville coach Jordan Summerford said. “We didn’t take advantage of their mistakes then we had mistakes that should have never been made. And Cockrell did an excellent job.”
Leading 6-1, TCPS (15-2-1, 8-1) scored its first fifth-inning run when Cockrell walked and Smithville catcher Turner Sanderson threw to second trying to pick off Stephen Sexton. The ball sailed to center as Sexton scored. Courtesy runner Ron Livigne later advanced to third on one of five Smithville errors and scored on Clint McGraw’s bunt single for an 8-1 lead.
McGraw advanced to third on another pick attempt throw to the outfield and pinch hitter Hayden Elliot doubled to right to score McGraw. Zachary Bridges hit a bloop single to center and J.G. Lipscomb added a two-run single for an 11-1 lead.
TCPS finished with 11 hits, three from McGraw.
“We’re an aggressive team and we want to put pressure just as any team does,” Lowrey said. “Whenever you get up, the more pressure you apply, you can force people to make mistakes. We made the mistakes in the first game.”
TCPS dropped four fly balls in the earlier loss and dropped a couple in foul territory Thursday night.
Smithville (9-4, 6-1), which scored its first-inning run on a single by Steve Adams, added its only other two runs on Antwune Freeman’s fifth-inning home run that kept the game alive.
TCPS scored three in the first on an RBI single from Andrew Soper, an RBI double past diving center fielder Datrune Freeman from Sexton and McGraw’s RBI infield single.
Adams hit a deep fly ball to center in the bottom of the seventh, a ball caught as Bridges fell down, caught the ball from his back and turned a game-ending double play.