TUPELO - This was a night to survive the cold, maintain calm nerves, and just basically open the 2010 Mississippi high school baseball season.
Collin Dexter did all that, and sparked his team with three doubles, helping the Tupelo Golden Wave to a 6-4 victory over the Nettleton Tigers Friday in the Tupelo Classic, the season opener for both squads.
Batting from the leadoff spot, Dexter doubled in each of his first three at-bats, scoring twice.
That streak began with his first at bat in the bottom of the first inning with a shot down the left-field line. He later scored on a Drew Alford sacrifice fly for a 1-0 lead.
Baxter repeated his hit-and-score efforts with one out in the third, scoring on a Nettleton error. He capped his night in the fifth inning with an RBI double to right, but was thrown out trying to stretch the hit to a triple.
"He played really well for us tonight," said Tupelo coach Gary Enis of his center fielder. "He really set the table for the other guys."
Benefiting from the Wave's early inning efforts at the plate was Alford. The Tupelo starter pitched six strong innings, allowing only two hits and one run.
"This was not our best defensive game, but I'm sure we'll get better as the year goes on," Enis said. "Alford pitched a great six innings for us."
Tupelo's big offensive inning was the fourth, scoring three runs, helped by a Cody Shrewsbury two-run hit.
Signs of improvement
"The errors were costly," said Nettleton first-year coach Greg Patterson, who saw his Tigers commit five errors. "The big thing for us was that we improved from our jamboree last week."Not a lot, just a little, but I saw the signs of improvement."
Patterson also thought his starter Anthony Franklin had a solid outing. Franklin pitched into the fifth inning, scattering five hits in the effort.
Nettleton did threaten in the top of the seventh, scoring three runs on no hits.
The tournament highlighted two other games Friday with Saltillo downing Itawamba AHS 3-2, and Mooreville outlasting Lafayette 5-4. Play continues today with Saltillo-Nettleton at 11 a.m., Lafayette-Itawamba at 2 p.m., and Tupelo-Mooreville rounding out the action at 5 p.m.