By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
COLUMBUS – Columbus coach Jeffrey Cook could offer up only one explanation Tuesday for his team’s 7-6 win in 11 innings against Tupelo.
“That’s baseball,” he said, quoting former Mississippi State coach Ron Polk. “I know it was tough for Tupelo. They played hard.
“It was a big win for us. We battled hard. It was our third extra-inning win.”
The Falcons (14-3, 4-1 Division 2-6A) loaded the bases in the bottom of the 11th on three walks – two intentional – before No. 9 batter Gavonte Webb was hit on the first pitch from Golden Wave relief pitcher Ty Wheeler to force in the winning run.
“The ball bounced our way early and it bounced their way late,” Tupelo coach Gary Enis said. “We had our chances and just didn’t get it done.”
Tupelo (10-8, 2-3) led 6-1 on the strength of three-run innings in the first and fifth.
Columbus helped the Golden Wave effort with three errors in the two run-scoring frames. J.P. Stanzell had an RBI single in the first and Michael Ray an RBI single in the fifth for Tupelo.
“Our starter, Trace Lee, wasn’t quite on, but Tupelo put the ball in play,” Cook said. “I thought we started out playing sloppy.”
The Golden Wave stranded six base runners over the next six innings.
“That’s been our pattern lately, we get a big lead and can’t seem to hold it,” Enis said. “We’ve got to get some consistency when it comes to shutting the door.”
Columbus battled back with one run in the fifth and four in the sixth to tie the score at 6-6. The Falcons, who had 14 hits, reached Wave pitchers Hudson Roy and Wendell Goss for five hits in the sixth.
Lee scattered four hits and recorded seven strikeouts in six innings for the Falcons. Hunter Mullis, a left-hander, came on in relief and worked the final five innings to get the win for Columbus.
Columbus had an opportunity to win in the eighth inning on a fly ball hit to deep right-center by Mullis. Tupelo’s J.G Miley ran the ball down, made the catch and doubled up the runner at first to end the threat.