By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – What shaped up as a strong pitching duel between the Tupelo Golden Wave and Columbus Falcons was far from it Tuesday.
But the Wave accomplished their goal of increasing their lead in Division 2-6A by downing the Falcons 13-6.
“Credit out players for bouncing back after Columbus had tied the score,” Tupelo coach Gary Enis said. “This is the first time we’ve given up a lead like that with two out.
“But you learn from that, and hopefully we’ll be better. This is a tough division, and you’ve got to come ready to play every night.”
What Enis is not use to was watching his Wave (13-6, 4-1) squander a five-run lead. Tupelo had forged ahead 5-0 in the bottom of the third, only to see Columbus (9-9, 2-3) climb back with four hits that scored five runs with two out in the top of the fourth that knotted the contest at 5-5.
But the Wave never tightened up with the pressure the Falcons were applying.
Tupelo bounced back with six runs crossing the plate in the bottom of the fourth. Brandon Reddout got the Wave going in the right direction in the frame with a solid single to left that plated the first two runs of the inning, helping the home team regain the lead at 11-5.
Sanders West added a two-run double later in the inning.
“Our pitching has been one of our strengths until tonight,” Columbus coach Jeffrey Cook said. “We did start swinging pretty well after about the third inning.
“We had a chance to be in first place after tonight, and that’s the disappointing thing.”
Stefan Hairston socked a solo home run to right field in the fifth for the Falcons, but Tupelo responded with solo runs in their half of the fifth and sixth innings. The fifth frame saw an RBI hit by Drew Alford, and Collin Dexter knocked in the run in the sixth for the Wave.
“Reddout’s two-RBI single was a big hit at the time for us because it put us back ahead,” Enis said.
Tupelo’s middle-inning run production made a winner of Ben Hudspeth, who entered the contest on the mound in the fourth inning against Columbus. Also in relief, Hairston entered the contest in the third and was charged with the loss for Columbus.
Tupelo jumped on top in the third inning off Columbus starter Nick Durrah as the Columbus lefty walked five in the frame, helping the Wave score five times. The inning also included a two-run single by Hudspeth.
For the third straight week, there is no time to rest between division games as Tupelo turns around and travels to Columbus Friday.