By David Wheeler/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal
NEW ALBANY – Sure, it wasn’t the state championship, but after a hot five days of play, it will do for the Lafayette Commodores.
Wrapping up the June high school baseball schedule for Northeast Mississippi Wednesday, Lafayette used hot bats to claim a 13-3 victory over the North Pontotoc Vikings in the championship game of the NEMCABB Summer Championship.
“We swung the bats extremely well the whole tournament,” said Lafayette head coach Patrick Roby, in his first month with the team after time at South Panola. “The summer league is the summer league, but playing for something at the end of it is good.”
Playing good at the end was senior D. K. Buford. Besides effectively roaming centerfield for the Commodores, Buford racked up four hits, including a bases loaded triple to the gap in right field in the bottom of the sixth that ended the contest on the 10-run rule.
“D. K., his whole tournament has been good,” Roby said. “He used the whole field today.”
Buford and John Murphree had a pair of infield hits to deep short to get the Lafayette offense into gear in the first inning. Eventually in the frame, Jake McPhail, Hunter Bishop, and Austin Arrington had RBI hits as Lafayette took a 4-1 lead.
North Pontotoc was still hanging close as late as the top of the fifth as the Viking pushed across a run to close the gap to 6-2.
But Lafayette sealed the deal in the bottom of the frame. The Commodores pushed across three runs, including an RBI hit by Buford.
Then in the sixth, a hit batter, a walk, and a single loaded the bases for Buford, who ripped a shot into right field that cleared the bases.
‘Something to build on’
“This is something to build on,” North Pontotoc head coach Chad Anthony said. “They just played better than we did tonight.”
This tournament began with 24 teams on Thursday, and was down to semifinal action earlier Wednesday. There, Lafayette defeated Amory 14-5, and North Pontotoc defeated East Union 12-3 to move into the championship game.