By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The Tupelo Golden Wave baseball team have been going through their 2011 season in a low-key, workmanlike fashion.
The simply show up and play ball, with no game more important than the next.
That said, the Wave (17-1, 5-0) have perhaps their two most important home contests on the schedule today and Tuesday. For those games, Tupelo hosts Division 2-6A foes Columbus at 6 p.m. today, and South Panola at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
“All games are important, but you want to put special emphasis on home division games,” Tupelo coach Gary Enis said. “This team just likes to play baseball, and they have fun playing.
“But you want to prevent a letdown.”
On the radar for the Wave is its division schedule, and Columbus (2-3 in division) and South Panola (3-2) are Tupelo’s last home division games. Victories today and Tuesday keep Tupelo solidly in first place in the division, and in ideal position for the playoffs against the two teams with the best chance of catching them.
Under the radar for Tupelo has been the accumulation of its successes for this season. The Wave currently have a 15-game winning streak, and moved into the No. 1 spot this week in the Clarion Ledger state-wide rankings.
“We talked about that for the first time (Tuesday),” Enis said of the No. 1 ranking. “And that’s only because the Columbus coach mentioned it.
“Now every team is going to be trying to knock off No. 1, and we’re going to have to take it up a notch. At the same time, you want to have fun with it, and we need to know how to handle the pressure.”
Tupelo more than handled Columbus on Tuesday 14-0, with J. D. Roberts (5-0) throwing a two-hitter over six and a third innings. Offensively in that game Ben Hudspeth (5-1) collected five hits, and is slated to start on the mound tonight.
“Our pitching has been exceptional this season, and I can see our hitters having a better approach at the plate,” Enis said. “Our defense has got to stop extending some innings, and we’ve got to stay sharp mentally.”