By David Wheeler/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal
THRASHER – Being nervous is understandable in the postseason.
But teams can only afford nerves for just a moment.
The Tupelo Christian Prep Eagles overcame their nerves first Thursday night, eventually rolling to a 15-3 victory in seven innings over the Thrasher Rebels in Game 1 of their quarterfinal Class 1A series.
“It’s been a bad case of the nerves every game we’ve been playing lately,” TCPS head coach Will Lowery said. “It felt like it for the first couple of innings until we got going.”
The best-of-three series goes to Game 2 today at TCPS, set for a 4 p.m. first pitch, weather permitting.
Both staring pitchers – Zach Bridges for TCPS and Cole Lawderdale for Thrasher – threw perhaps more than their share of pitches early, combining to walk or hit 11 batters in the first two innings.
Luke Walden for Thrasher had the most effective swing of the first two frames, leading off the bottom of the first with a home run that helped the Rebels (17-8) stay even at 3-3 through the first inning. TCPS then added four runs in the top of the second, gaining a 7-3 lead, a perhaps calming their nerves.
That allowed the Eagles (22-7) to settle into the contest and cruise the remainder of the way.
“After we spotted them early, we never really played ball,” Thrasher head coach Richie Taylor said. “With the walks and the errors, you can’t win ball games doing that.
“We need to forget tonight and come back for a new day.”
If Thrasher was nervous early, Stephen Sexton bashed what hopes the Rebels had in the top of the fourth frame, hitting a monstrous three-run home run to left that propelled TCPS to an 11-3 advantage.
After his shaky start, Bridges settled down to pitch into the sixth inning, only allowing two total hits while striking out 10.
Tupelo added three runs in the seventh on a triple by J. G. Lipscomb.