By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Monday’s 11-1, six-inning victory against Itawamba AHS was a solid start to a crucial week for Tupelo baseball.
The Golden Wave hosts Division 2-6A co-leader South Panola at 6 p.m. today. The visiting Tigers have beaten Tupelo twice this season.
“Tuesday is such a big day for us. This helped get us ready,” Tupelo coach Gary Enis said, referring to the win against IAHS at Golden Wave Field. “South Panola has beaten us twice. We could make some progress with a division win.”
Tupelo, 13-8 overall, is 3-3 in division play. South Panola and Columbus share the lead at 4-2 each. Grenada, a team the Golden Wave visits at 6 p.m. Friday, is 1-5. The top three teams in the division qualify for the postseason.
“We need to make sure we’re ready to play,” Enis said. “Last year, everybody was 4-4 going into the last day.”
In the win against IAHS, Enis got a solid 1-hit, 6-strikeout pitching effort from right-hander Ben Matthews.
“He was around the plate, stayed in the zone and threw strikes,” Enis said. “He gave up two walks to start the second and came back with two strikeouts.”
The Indians (7-11) scored their lone run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly to center field by Bridger Thomas.
Hudson Roy singled and scored on an error in the first to give the Golden Wave a 1-0 lead.
Michael Ray, who had three hits, doubled in one of Tupelo’s three third-inning runs to give his team a 4-0 lead.
Matthews led off the fifth with a double. J.G. Miley and William Ikerd added RBI singles to give Tupelo a 6-0 lead.
J.P. Stanzell had a two-run double in the sixth and Miley an RBI single in the sixth to seal the win.
“We wanted to make sure we got some quality at-bats today,” Enis said. “When we started out our focus wasn’t there. Then we turned it on a little.”