By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – One month away from the Legion State Tournament here, Tupelo and Pontotoc split a midseason doubleheader Tuesday night.
Tupelo took Game 1, 7-6, in extras and Pontotoc won the five-inning finale 17-0.
Tied at 6 in the bottom of the eighth of Game 1, Austin Welch led off with a double. An error and intentional walk loaded the bases. Kyle Robbins struck out two but walked Anthony Mallard for the winning run.
“I thought we played well in the first game. The pitchers stayed in the strike zone and we had a lot of good at-bats,” Tupelo coach Kirk Presley said.
Pontotoc took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on back-to-back doubles from Jacob Shempert and Hayden Stegall and Robbins’ bloop single.
Danny Springer’s solo shot to deep left gave Pontotoc a 3-0 lead in the second.
Tupelo (9-9) took a lead with a four-run sixth on a fielder’s choice from Ben Aldridge and three straight two-out RBI singles from Kyle Young, JG Miley and Michael Hensley.
“We’re still giving away a few at-bats,” Presley said. “We are getting better but you’ve got to fight for every at-bat and we’ve got to do a better job of getting strike 1 and 2 on the mound.”
Pontotoc (4-7) tied it in the top of the seventh. Jacob Shempert led the inning with his second double – he was 3 for 4 – and scored on a sac fly from Stephen Sexton. A bases-loaded walk to Ryan Watts tied it.
Dylan Vuncannon got the win for Tupelo.
In Game 2, the Red Sox scored nine in the fifth on RBI singles from Shempert and Stegall, a two-run Sanders single and a two-run single from Stanley.
Four Pontotoc pitchers combined on a one-hitter. Stanley struck out the side in the second and was 4 for 4.
“Definitely we’ve got a lot of good hitters,” Springer said. “We haven’t been swinging it well throughout the season and now we’re starting see it better.”