By David Wheeler/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Through 4 1/2 innings on Tuesday, the modest winning streak by the Tupelo Golden Wave looked dead in the water.
But Tupelo flipped a switch, rallied, and improved to a season-best five-game winning streak with an 8-6 victory over the Columbus Falcons in a Division 2-6A matchup.
“This game tested us, and it was a good test,” Tupelo head coach Gary Enis said. “I’m proud of the way the guys battled tonight.”
Columbus sophomore pitcher Trace Lee was baffling Wave bats through the first four innings, facing just one over the minimum. And Columbus bats were pecking away at Tupelo starter Brayden Owen, scoring five runs on five hits to take a 5-0 lead.
Then came the crucial bottom of the fifth for Tupelo.
An error and a Rob McAuley hit gave the Wave (10-7, 2-3) multiple base runners for the first time in the contest. Then with one out, senior Ben Aldridge lined a hit up the middle to score a run.
Tupelo then scored on a wild pitch and a bases loaded walk to cut the Columbus (11-7, 2-3) margin to 5-3 with two outs. Senior Dylan Vuncannon then delivered the biggest blow of the season thus far for the Wave, a bases-loaded triple, also scoring on a Columbus error to catapult Tupelo to a 7-5 lead.
“We finally put pressure on their pitcher,” Enis said. “And Vuncannon came up huge.”
Closing out the Falcons also fell on Vuncannon’s shoulders, having gone to the mound in the top of the fifth.
The Tupelo senior did allow six walks in his stint on the mound, but finally induced a game-ending fly out.
This was Tupelo’s fifth game in five days, with a visit to Columbus set for Thursday at 5 p.m. Tupelo still have five games remaining this week, with non-division doubleheaders Friday and Saturday.