NEMCABB tourney starts today

baseball_icon_greenBy David Wheeler

Special to the Journal

Perhaps the jewel in the NEMCABB lineup up of baseball is its annual All-Star game, which was at the end of May this year.

The other popular NEMCABB event has it first pitch today in the 2014 Summer Championships tournament, which goes into motion today with 24 schools at six sites in Northeast Mississippi.

“You certainly find out who some of the top teams in the area are,” Tupelo Golden Wave head coach Gary Enis said. “It’s fun when you’re playing the other teams, and this is basically the returning players on each team, and you’re getting a gauge on your team.”

The Golden Wave are one of the hosts for regional play today and Friday, along with Corinth, Ripley, Itawamba AHS, Oxford, and Calhoun City.

Game times at each region site for both days are 2:30 p.m., 4:45 p.m., and 7 p.m. The region format only seeds each school for next week for the tournament format that runs Monday through Wednesday at BNA Bank Park in New Albany.

Golden Wave hosts

The Golden Wave are still relatively fresh off playing in the semifinal round of the Class 6A state tournament, but have been dealing with major graduation losses, and failing to dodge raindrops with its June schedule.

“Rain has set us back this summer, but we’re going to try to put our best nine on the field and see what happens,” Enis said. “We’ll try to use as many pitchers as we can.”

Tupelo will field both a varsity and underclass team in its regional. Tupelo 1 plays Shannon today at 7 p.m., Tupelo 2 at 2:30 p.m. Friday, and Houston at 7 p.m. Friday.

“Houston is certainly a tough team in our bracket,” said Enis of the Class 4A school. “We’ll need some guys to step up, but it’s a great opportunity for them.”

Tupelo does return full-time starters William Ikerd at catcher and Walter Goss on the infield, as well as infielder Carson Roberts, a part-time starter.

The Oxford Chargers are another area school that played in its state tournament semifinals, and that is playing in the NEMCABB tournament. Oxford fell to eventual 5A winner New Hope.

“We’re struggling to put 11 of 12 players together,” said Oxford head coach Chris Baughman, who reports that several players are in Omaha watching Ole Miss in the College World Series. “We also have several key guys playing with travel teams, so this week won’t be our high school lineup, but it’s an opportunity for other players.”

At full strength, Oxford does return all it’s starting pitching with Jason Barber, Houston Roth, and Drew Phillips, along with catcher Jack McClure, and some potential transfers.

Lafayette, South Pontotoc, and New Albany are also in Oxford’s regional.