By David Wheeler/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal
BELDEN – The Tupelo Christian Prep Eagles have faced the St. Joe Fighting Irish for three straight years in the baseball playoffs.
TCPS senior Drew Carter stepped up Saturday and put the Eagles in position to finally win one of those series.
Carter struck out nine over five innings as part of the 10-0 victory for TCPS in Game 2 of the Class 1A semifinal playoff series. The series is now tied at 1-1, with Game 3 set for Monday in Greenville at 6 p.m.
It’s the second season straight season the two teams have played in the 1A semifinals.
“We’ve played St. Joe three times in a row in the playoffs, and this was a huge win for TCPS,” Carter said. “We are one step closer to state, but we’ve got to come back Monday and play this way again.”
Carter handled his responsibilities nicely, only allowing two singles in the five inning contest. Carter also struck out the last four Irish he faced.
“There’s no secret he’s been struggling in the playoffs,” TCPS head coach Will Lowery said. “He looked like his old self today.
“Mentally, this was a big step for him.”
At the plate, TCPS (23-8) scored seven runs in the first two innings to grab control of the scoreboard.
Leadoff hits by J.G. Lipscomb and Lee McBunch helped to set up the bottom of the first for TCPS, where the Eagles plated four runs. Then in a three-run second, Zachory Tybor had a two-run hit.
TCPS then iced the contest in the fourth with three more runs, loading the bases with no outs before Tybor had another two-run hit.
“Offensively, we dropped our pride, especially with two strikes,” Lowery said.
“This was a complete overall effort today, and it’s been a long time coming. As long as we’re playing a complete game, I don’t care what the score is.”