By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – In the insanity that is Division 2-6A baseball in 2012, there will a bit of clarity for the Tupelo Golden Wave today.
For the Columbus Falcons, Grenada Chargers, and South Panola Tigers as well.
Win, and you qualify for the playoffs.
All four teams comprise an unusual situation with just one game left in the regular season division schedule – all four are tied at 4-4.
“The division hasn’t been like this in a long time,” Tupelo coach Gary Enis said. “I guess we’re all pretty even talent-wise.
“It’s very unusual when the last game of the season means something for all four teams.”
Unusual or not, Tupelo’s playoff faith comes down to today with the Wave (17-9) hosting Columbus (14-8) at 6 p.m.
“We’ve just got to win,” Enis said. “We’re not much worried about the other game.
“After starting 0-3 in the division, I think we’ve battled back. We’ve just been trying to find consistency, trying to put guys in position to win ball games.”
Today’s lineup against Columbus will have at least one major change.
First division start
Senior Dylan Vuncannon (3-0) will take the mound in his first -ever division start, only his second of the season. Vuncannon pitched brilliantly in an emergency situation last week, going 61/3 innings to beat Grenada after Brayden Owen was hurt.
Owen has not put a fielding glove on for the Wave since, but did DH in Friday’s 19-15 win over Grenada, ripping three doubles with seven RBIs. Owen and Ben Aldridge (2-3) have been the normal division starters for Tupelo.
Owen leads Tupelo starters with a .397 batting average, with Aldridge at .375. Catcher Michael Hensley is hitting .391.
“This is my 16th year coaching, and I’ve never seen it come down to all four teams like this,” Columbus coach Jeffrey Cook said. “Win, and you’re in, that’s what I’ve been telling my kids.”
Cook reports that Trace Lee (4-2) will start against Tupelo. Lee started against Tupelo in an earlier contest, which the Wave won 8-6.