TUPELO – The Tupelo Golden Wave baseball team flew a little bit under the radar for most of the season, despite a 22-game winning streak and a trip into the national rankings.
On a whole, this was a very blue-collar team that took its results as they happened. Much like head coach Gary Enis, who quietly notched his 200th career victory on the last weekend of the regular season against New Albany.
“I don’t put a lot of stock in that,” said Enis, who has now coached the Golden Wave eight seasons. “There have been a lot of good players here, and they’re the ones who get the wins.
“They’re competitive, love the game, and have the ability to be coached.”
Tupelo finished 31-6 this season, giving Enis a 208-66 overall mark, before it lost its final game of the season last Saturday to Petal, 9-0, in the Game 3 of the Class 6A State Championship.
Enis quickly moved past coming within one victory of his first state championship as a coach, and is already looking to next season.
The Golden Wave will have sizable holes to fill with the loss of nine seniors, all whom saw playing time in 2011.
“We knew at the start of the season we had some good pitching, but we didn’t know what our hitting was going to do,” said Enis, who saw his pitching staff carry the team through four three-game series in the playoffs. “We knew with our pitching depth, we had a good shot to make a good run.”
Big losses to overcame for Enis will be pitcher/catcher Ben Hudspeth and outfielder Conner Carothers. During the playoffs, Hudspeth provided quality outings every time on the mound, while Carothers swung a clutch bat that included five home runs in the playoffs.
Enis will be able to rebuild around shortstop/catcher Dylan Vuncannon and pitcher Ben Aldridge. Both are seniors-to-be, with Aldridge distinguishing himself during the playoffs with eight appearances.
“There are some others who could show they should play based on what they do this summer,” Enis said. “The main goal for all of them is to make sure they improve in life.”
David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal