PONTOTOC – Bronson Smith says it’s been his team’s mentality all year to get up to the plate and just let it rip.
He was certainly appreciative of his team’s approach late Friday afternoon. The Tupelo 49ers pounded out 15 hits in a 13-7 win over the defending state champion Hub City (Hattiesburg) Senior Bombers in an opening-round game of the American Legion Baseball State Tournament at Pontotoc High School.
Drew Alford and Jake Scott led the 49ers with three hits apiece, while Channing Nanney hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the second and Tyler Awtrey had a solo blast in the bottom of the eighth.
“That’s always big to have – a lot of offensive support,” Smith said after pitching four innings of relief to pick up his fifth win of the season. “It makes your job on the mound a lot easier.”
The right-hander came on in relief of starter Tanner Gaines, who was effective from the get-go, striking out eight while allowing three runs, three hits and three walks in four innings of work. He did allow a two-run homer to Holden Watts in the top of the fourth.
Smith said it was planned for him to come on in relief of Gaines.
Meanwhile, Hub City Senior starter Blake Herrin fell to 5-3 on the year despite only giving up three runs in 42⁄3 innings. He was relieved by Tyler Thompson.
When Smith entered the game in the top of the fifth, the 49ers held a 6-2 lead. The reliever allowed an inherited runner to score that inning, but only allowed one hit, a home run by Tyler Graves in the top of the eighth, in his entire four innings on the mound.
Smith benefited from a six-run seventh inning in which 12 Tupelo hitters went to the plate.
Kirk Roberts finished the game on the mound for Tupelo.
The 49ers (25-5) advanced and will likely play Pontotoc at 8 tonight at Pontotoc field.
Corinth 12, Hub City Jr. 3
Jake Beck led Corinth with four hits, while Trae Bain and Tyler Nelms held the Hub City Junior team to eight hits in an opening-round game.
Corinth (7-13) will likely play Itawamba at 4:30 p.m. today.
Bain and Tanner McCollum had two hits apiece in the win. Tayler Hardy led the Bombers with four hits, including two doubles, and teammate Darion Brown added a homer in the top of the seventh.
Pontotoc sent 17 batters to the plate and scored 14 runs on 11 hits in the top of the second inning and led Itawamba 30-7 in the sixth inning of the nine-inning contest.
David Bowen hit a towering grand slam to give the Sox an 8-0 lead before Lee Wilson smashed a two-run bomb to plate the inning’s final runs and give the host team a 14-0 lead.
John Wilbert and Adam Gore/NEMS Daily Journal