By Blake Long/Special to the Journal
NEW ALBANY – After struggling the second half of his freshman season at Arkansas State University, Bradley Wallace is coming around.
Wallace, using the Cotton States Baseball League to polish his pitching skills before the start of his sophomore season, struck out 14 Tallahatchie Rascals batters in downing the defending CSBL champion 5-1.
The Jets (9-9-1) will face the North Delta Dealers in today’s championship game at 4 p.m.
“He’s one of those guys as a coach you give him the ball and tell him to throw it,” Jets coach Stacy Hester said. “He’s come here to do exactly what we’ve allowed him to do, to throw every Saturday and he’s used this summer to make himself better.”
Wallace (4-2) took the mound in the bottom of the first with a four-run cushion, all the support he would need to back his complete game performance.
Tallahatchie starter Beau Cummings (6-3) walked Phillip Correro and Wallace to begin the game and set up the Jets’ big inning. David Bowen brought in Correro with a RBI single to make it 1-0.
Daniel Short followed with a double to right that cleared the bases and gave Golden Triangle a 3-0 lead. Cody Berryhill capped the frame with an opposite field single that scored Short.
“The two walks killed us,” Tallahatchie coach Chris Basil said. “I thought past the first inning the game was nip and tuck.”
Berryhill scored the Jets’ fifth run on a wild pitch in the fourth and was the only multiple hitter for his team.
Hunter Mize tripled and scored on John Jordan’s groundout in the third for Tallahatchie’s only run. Will Wallis and Mize were the only multiple hitters for the Rascals (12-6-1).
North Delta 8, Tupelo 0: North Delta coach John Walker liked Ethan Sanderlin in his team’s semifinal matchup with Tupelo over ace Jeremy Massie. The matchup worked, as Sanderlin and Tyler Basil combined for a two-hitter in the Dealers’ win.
Two four-run innings provided the offense for North Delta. An inside-the-park three-run home run by Jeremy Carlisle and a run scoring double by Landan Cloud put the Dealers (14-3-2) up 4-0 after the third.
A RBI double by Nathan Van Nortwick and run scoring single by Cloud in the fifth capped the scoring for North Delta.
Tupelo 4, Tippah County 1: Tupelo (4-16) won Saturday morning’s quarterfinal game over the Tippah County Tribe (7-12) thanks to Bronson Smith’s complete game pitching performance.