By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The Tupelo Golden Wave baseball team have won five straight division championships.
The journey towards a possible sixth begins today as the Wave open Division 2-6A play on the road against the South Panola Tigers at 6 p.m.
“We’re basically starting anew,” said Tupelo coach Gary Enis, who has been able to claim seven division titles in his eight seasons guiding the Wave. “Our division play will determine how we’re seeded in the playoffs, or if we make the playoffs.”
Tupelo’s early efforts this season have netted a 4-3 record, and the Wave are coming off a disappointing 8-6 loss Saturday to Oxford in nine innings.
“Those games could have gone either way,” said Enis of the Tupelo losses, which also include 1-0 setbacks to Amory and Southaven. “We’ve got to learn how to finish games, we’ve just basically got to do a better job.”
Enis does feel the Wave’s starting pitching has been a potential bright spot in the early games. Senior Ben Aldridge has easily logged the most innings (23) in four starts, only allowing one earned run in his first three trips to the mound.
But Enis will not throw Aldridge this week until Friday when the Wave host South Panola at 6 p.m. In today’s game, Enis indicated that senior Brayden Owen, who is coming off a solid six innings Thursday in a 6-1 win over Southaven, will get the nod against the Tigers (8-4).
Offensively, junior first baseman Kyle Cofer leads the team with a .318 average and 8 RBIs, while senior outfielder McKamy Smith is next among the starters at .304.
“Our pitchers, for the most part, have been throwing strikes, and that’s the positive thing,” Enis said. “We’ve got to get over a tough loss, and be worried about no other team except South Panola.”
Besides its two division contest this week, Tupelo has a pair of games Saturday. The Wave will host Itawamba AHS at 1 p.m., then travel for a 6 p.m. contest at Pontotoc.
Then in the next two weeks, Tupelo’s division schedule will feature home and away contests with Grenada, then Columbus.