By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
INGOMAR – Tuesday’s Class 1A baseball playoff game between Tupelo Christian Prep and Ingomar had it all – 26 runs, 22 hits including a grand slam, five errors, some aggressive base running and a double play.
There was an early 6-0 lead by TCPS, which was followed by a five-run rally by the host Falcons. In the end, however, the visiting Eagles were the ones moving on to the state quarterfinals with a series-clinching 19-7 victory in five innings.
“It was an adventure,” Ingomar coach Andy Wilbanks said. “It wasn’t pretty on our end or their end.”
TCPS (21-7) opens its quarterfinals series Friday at Thrasher, then will host Game 2 Saturday in Tupelo. The game times will be determined today.
“This was not the game we were looking for,” TCPS coach Will Lowrey said. “Early in the year we relied on our pitching and our defense. We haven’t played well under pressure lately.”
Falcons don’t quit
Ingomar (19-7), a team with just two seniors in the starting lineup, saw its season come to an end.
“I was proud of our guys; we didn’t quit,” Wilbanks said.
TCPS starter Drew Carter struggled on the mound after a solid first inning. He walked five of the six batters he faced in the second inning and walked in two runs.
Ingomar starter Tyler Dowdy, who recorded 11 strikeouts against the Eagles in Game 1, was touched for 12 runs and 13 hits. One of those hits was a solo homer by J.G. Lipscomb in a six-run TCPS fourth inning.
“Our guys had a game plan at the plate,” Lowrey said. “We were swinging at everything the last game against Dowdy. We came to the plate picky.
“We were able to put pressure on them, put the ball in play. We were able to take advantage of some mistakes.”
TCPS clinched the victory with a seven-run fifth inning. The key blow was a grand slam home run by No. 9 batter Zach Bridges.
“I don’t know if you can get a bigger hit,” Lowrey said.