By Brandon Speck/Monroe Journal
TUPELO – Tupelo Christian threw a fresh arm Monday night and the Eagles are in the MHSAA Class 1A semifinals.
Zachary Bridges allowed five hits and his team scored eight runs in the fifth inning of a 12-1 win in five against West Union in the decisive Game 3 of the quarterfinals series.
The first two games of the series went back-and-forth and this one was headed that way.
“It wasn’t different until the fifth inning,” TCPS coach Will Lowrey said. “It’s the same type game until the end. I think it really just came down to the depth of our pitching.”
The Eagles travel to Greenville St. Joe for Game 1 of the best-of-three North championship series on Thursday.
Already trailing 4-1 in the fifth, West Union starter Joey Dillard walked O.J. Pannell. New pitcher Drew Garrett then hit Tayler Beard and the floodgates opened. J.G. Lipscomb’s double cleared the bases. Lee McBunch had an RBI single, Drew Carter a two-run single and Zachary Tybor ended it with a two-run single.
Dillard and Garrett had thrown the first two games.
“Those two kids pitched their tails off,” Lowrey said. “I think they just ran out of gas. We’re all human. We just finally got to them.”
Back from a back injury, Bridges improved to 2-0.
TCPS (18-10) scored first on Andrew Soper’s RBI single and took a 3-0 lead on Lipscomb’s two-run single.
“We’ve worked hard and it’s paid off,” said Lipscomb, who went 2 for 4 with five RBI. “We put the stick to it and hit the ball.”
Chris Beard singled and scored on an error in the third for West Union (16-15). Tybor was hit by a pitch and scored on an error in the bottom.
Jumper and Garrett singled and Chase Bogue walked to load the bases in the fourth. Bridges escaped with a strikeout and a pickoff throw from Soper.
“We surprised a lot of people but I believe every kid in that dugout expected to be here,” West Union coach Ashley Russell said. “I’m very, very proud of my kids.”