By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Based on very recent weather, the shackles of winter are almost gone.
A sure sign of this is the beginning of high school baseball season, which gets a start in Northeast Mississippi today thanks to the Tupelo Golden Wave.
The Wave, 22-9 a season ago – and a series away from playing for a state championship in Class 6A – willl host Classic games today and Saturday involving seven other area teams, and a total of seven games in two days. Tupelo will play Mooreville at 7 p.m. today, and Hatley at 6 p.m. Saturday.
“Based on practices so far, our pitching is looking pretty good, and we have most of our pitching back from last season,” said coach Gary Enis, who is entering his 13th season with Tupelo baseball, and his eighth as head coach of one of the most consistent programs in its nationally recognized athletic department. “We’ve got a lot of pitching depth, and we’re trying to get them in a good routine because we have division contests right after spring break.”
Enis has a good base for his 2011 hurlers, with four starters who together notched 19 wins last season – seniors Cody Shrewsbury (6-2), Ben Hudspeth (7-2), and J.D. Roberts (4-0-3), and junior Ben Aldridge (2-1-1). Enis will also be looking to seniors William Goss and Jack Hill, and juniors Brayden Owen, Colby Trotter, and McKamy Smith.
Offensively, the Wave might have a lot of inexperience on paper, but have a lot of potential. The Tupelo batting order returns Shrewsbury, Goss, and Hudspeth, with senior Jack Hill coming off an impressive summer.
Defensively, Enis likes his outfield with senior Conner Carothers in left, Goss in center, and Shrewsbury in right. On the infield, senior Blake McCullough and junior Peyton Wade will be at third, senior Luke Davis at short, senior Grant Spencer at second, and Roberts and Shrewsbury at first, with Hudspeth and junior Dylan Vuncannon catching.
“In part, I feel we’re generally going to get everybody’s best pitcher, so I’m trying to stress that we have to play every game, and play it the right way,” said Enis, whose Division 2-6A schedule includes two road games this season at both Starkville and Columbus. “It’s much more mental at this level.
“Sure we want to get to the state tournament, so we have to take care of our division, and that will be our focus early on.”
– Schedule today and Saturday at Tupelo Golden Wave Field Today
3 p.m. – Nettleton vs. Itawamba AHS
5 p.m. – Saltillo vs. Lafayette
7 p.m. – Tupelo vs. Mooreville
Note: Today’s games will be on
a time limit.
10:30 a.m. – Grenada vs. Saltillo
1 p.m. – Grenada vs. Itawamba AHS
3:30 p.m. – Lafayette vs. Nettleton
6 p.m. – Tupelo vs. Hatley