NEW ALBANY – Head coach Ronald Sims and the Golden Triangle Jets had to be patient Saturday.
After an early deficit, the Jets put up five runs in the fourth inning, eventually earning a 6-4 victory over the Tupelo Thunder in semifinal action of the Cotton States Baseball League college tournament at the New Albany Sportsplex.
The Jets will play the North Delta Dealers today in the championship game at 2 p.m. The Dealers defeated the Hill Country Generals 5-4 in the other semifinal contest.
“It took a while to get our bats swinging, their pitcher was throwing a lot of strikes,” said Sims, a recent student assistant at Mississippi State during their College World Series run. “We finally took better at bats and got things going.”
The Thunder had a bit of momentum in the early innings with a 2-0 lead. In both the second and third frames, the Thunder scored solo runs on sacrifice flys by Connor Burton from East Mississippi CC and Ethan Gill from Pontotoc and Itawamba CC.
Then the Jets took flight.
The first seven Jets batters reached base to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning, with the key blow a three-run double by Fredrico Moody from EMCC. Justin Whitaker from Corinth and Zack Randolph from Amory also had RBI hits in the inning as the Jets took a 5-2 lead.
“Our pitcher Ty Hendrix was throwing really well,” Thunder coach Buddy Hall said. “A key for us was that we had the bases loaded twice and did not score.”
Perhaps the key frame for the Thunder was in the top of the fifth, which early featured RBI hits by Gill and Austin Welch from Hamilton and ICC. The Thunder did load the bases later in the at bat with no outs, but the Jets escaped the inning, ending it on a double play.
Evan Hickman from Holly Springs and Northeast Mississippi CC came on the fourth for the Jets to earn the win, with seventh-inning relief by Seth McLemore from Southwest Tennessee CC.