By Blake Long/Special to the Journal
CORINTH – It had been a month since Tupelo High’s Ben Aldridge had thrown a baseball entering Saturday’s NEMCABB Class 3A-6A All-Star Game.
The Golden Wave senior did not look like he had missed a beat, however. He threw three scoreless innings to set the tone for the West team in their 13-0 win over the East.
Aldridge worked around two-out singles by East Best Offensive player Zack Carpenter of Belmont and Itawamba AHS’s Cole Haynes in the second and tossed three-up, three-down frames in the first and third to earn the win.
“Honestly, I was just hoping I could hit the catcher,” said Aldridge, who added two hits and was named Most Valuable Player for the West.
Brayden Owen, a teammate of Aldridge’s at Tupelo, also had a standout day at the plate. His 3 for 5 outing included a two-run single in the seventh that increased the West’s lead to 9-0.
Owen was involved in two key double plays, his second coming with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth, which helped him earn West Best Defensive player honors.
Hayes kept the West in check the first two innings, allowing but one run, and was named the East’s MVP.
After Hayes exited, though, West bats burnt East pitching to the tune of 21 hits – led by West Best Offensive Player Easton Hall (New Albany) and his perfect 3 for 3 day.
West pitchers held the East to five total hits and only one over the final four innings.
“We all pitched good, threw strikes and held them to no runs,” New Albany’s Mason Maxey, who tossed the final two frames, said. “We might have had a couple runners on, but (our defense) got us out without getting hurt.”
Lew Johnson (Corinth) was awarded with the Ralph Wade Bruce Sportsmanship Award and Austin Saylors (Shannon) earned the East Best Defensive Player award.
The West broke a tie game in the afternoon tilt between the 1A/2A all-stars by scoring nine unanswered runs and won 14-6.
East MVP Jake Self of Hatley capped a four-run third with a RBI double to tie the game at 4-4.
Bruce’s Chase Clark, who was named the West’s Best Offensive Player, hit a run-scoring single that capped his squad’s nine-run spurt and put his team up 13-4.
Codie Silver (East Webster) was the West MVP after a solid outing behind the plate. His teammate Conner Burton was the Best Defensive Player for the West.
Anthony Moore (Wheeler) was the East’s Best Offensive Player while Hamilton’s Austin Welch was named East Best Defensive Player.
Eupora’s Casey Oliver earned the Rusty Brown Sportsmanship Award.