By David Wheeler/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal
BELDEN – Will Lowery likes the result, but now wants to work on the method.
On Friday, Lowery saw his Tupelo Christian Prep Eagles hold off the Thrasher Rebels 12-10 to claim their Class 1A quarterfinals series 2-0.
But the TCPS head coach knows there is room for improvement.
“As a coach, I’m on pins and needles, I never know what I’m going to get with these guys,” Lowery said. “I think we scored in every inning, and we wanted to pressure on them with our offense.”
The Eagles (23-7) move to a situation in which they found themselves last season, in the 1A semifinals. TCPS will await the winner of the Greenville St. Joe-Smithville series, with Thursday slated to begin the next round.
But to get to just one series away from the championship series, the Eagles had to sidestep themselves and the Rebels (20-9). After moving to an 8-4 lead through four innings, TCPS saw Thrasher bring the tying run to the plate in the top of the seventh inning.
And the pressure of that situation fell on TCPS freshman pitcher Austin Laney, who survived two errors in the frame to induce a double play and a ground out to end the contest.
In moving to its early advantage, Tupelo used a three-run second inning with sacrifice flies by Lee McBunch and Drew Carter, and an RBI hit by Stephen Sexton for a 4-3 lead. TCPS added solo home runs in the third by J. G. Lipscomb and Zach Tybor, and RBIs by Matt Cates and Tybor in the fifth.
Tupelo also added three runs in the sixth, including a two-run hit by Cates.
Thrasher got three runs in the second on RBI hits by Luke Walden and Cole Lawderdale. The Rebels pulled within 11-9 in the top of the sixth on RBIs from Tyree Boren and Kyle Boren.
Pitchers on both teams combined to walk or hit 25 batters in this contest.