By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Chalk up the win, and move on to the next game.
The Tupelo Golden Wave had its hands full Friday with the stubborn Columbus Falcons, but eventually were able to chalk up a 17-5 Division 2-6A victory.
“We didn’t start off the game great, but I’m proud of the way our guys responded to some pressure,” Tupelo coach Gary Enis said. “I’m glad we responded in a positive way.”
The Falcons (12-8, 2-4) had been beat down by the Wave Tuesday 14-0, but jumped into the lead 3-0 in the top of the first inning on Tupelo ace Ben Hudspeth. A two-run double into the right field corner by Greg Sykes was the key blow in the inning for Columbus against the No. 1 team in the state in the Clarion Ledger rankings.
Tupelo (18-1, 6-0) did not panic, with an RBI double by Hudspeth in the bottom of the first chipping into the Columbus lead. The Wave then pushed ahead 4-3 in the second on run-scoring hits by Blake McCullough and Grant Spencer.
The Wave added another pair of runs in the third on RBI hits by Conner Carothers and McCullough. Columbus was not impressed, and cut the lead back to 6-5 in the top of the fourth on a two-run triple by Aaron Cooks.
“We just ran out of pitching,” Columbus coach Jeffrey Cook said. “Hey, we battled, and were right there for a while.
“Our kids did respond better after Tuesday’s game.”
Columbus’ pitching woes became apparent in the bottom of the fourth when Tupelo scored 11 runs.
Early in the frame, a Shrewsbury triple and Ben Aldridge double each plated a run, and McCullough collected his third hit and two more RBI. But Columbus pitching eventually walked nine in the inning, aiding the Tupelo cause.
“Columbus ran out of gas pitching,” Enis said. “For us, Hudspeth wasn’t as sharp as usual, but you’ve got to fight through it, and he did.”
Hudspeth (6-1) lasted into the fourth inning, getting two outs before giving way to Aldridge, who closed out the contest for the Wave.
Tupelo is on the road today, at Lee County rival Mooreville for a 6 p.m. contest, then hosts South Panola Tuesday in a 2-6A matchup.