By David Wheeler/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Tupelo head coach Gary Enis was pretty grim on Tuesday.
The Golden Wave had just lost their Division 2-6A opener for the second season in a row, a 3-0 setback this day to the South Panola Tigers.
“They played better than we did,” Enis said. “Hopefully, we’ll learn from this.”
Both teams struggled offensively, with only five hits between the two teams.
That put pitching at a premium, with the Tigers (8-4, 1-0) getting a clutch performance from Austin Towles.
The South Panola pitcher entered the game with no warning in the bottom of the second after Tigers starter Hunter Ivy had cut his finger on the seams of the baseball.
Towles threw four and third innings, allowing only a scratch single by Tupelo’s J. G. Miley in the bottom of the fourth inning.
“We had to revamp everything when we changed pitchers,” first year South Panola head coach Justin Reed said. “Towles is a starter for us, but he did not expect to pitch today.
“He had to flip a switch and go out there.”
Towles kept Tupelo batters off-balance much of his time on the mound, averting his biggest trouble in the bottom of the fourth. There, Tupelo (8-6, 0-1) loaded the bases with one out, but failed to convert.
“From an offensive standpoint, we need to make solid contact with the ball,” Enis said. “Hopefully, we’ll have runners on base, and hopefully, someone will step up for us when we played them again Friday.”
South Panola took the lead in the top of the second inning on two walks, then a bunt and error.
The Tigers added a run in the fifth inning on a couple of wild pitches, then another in the sixth on an RBI single by Dashawn Lindsay.
Tupelo looks to rebound against the Tigers at Batesville on Friday.