By Gene Phelps
MADISON – Madison Central had Drew Hurst’s number this season – two wins against Tupelo’s sophomore right-hander.
Hurst made sure they didn’t get another on Friday night, in Game 2 of the Golden Wave’s MHSAA Class 6A best-of-three playoff series against the Jaguars.
He worked two innings of relief, gave up two hits and struck out three, including the game’s final batter to help Tupelo beat Madison Central 6-5 in eight innings.
The Golden Wave (22-8), which won 2-1 Thursday in Tupelo, clinched the series and advances to next week’s state quarterfinals against Columbus, which beat Clinton on Friday night.
“This feels amazing,” said Hurst (5-3), who got out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh. “I did my job; the defense did its job.
“They weren’t going to beat me again.”
Tupelo coach Gary Enis was impressed with his young hurler’s performance.
“I can’t say enough about him,” he said. “This game went back and forth. I’m glad we pulled out a victory. We learned to overcome some adversity.”
Designated hitter Ty Wheeler’s sacrifice fly to right field scored Carter Clayton in the eighth to give Tupelo its go-ahead run.
Tupelo took a 3-1 lead in the third on singles by Matthew Miley, Michael Ray and William Ikerd, a sacrifice bunt by Carter Clayton, along with three errors by Madison Central. The Jaguars committed six errors.
A two-run single by Kyle O’Keefe highlighted a three-run Madison Central fifth.
Tupelo regained the lead, 5-4, in the sixth on a single by Miley, a double by Hudson Roy and a two-run fielding error by the shortstop.
Madison Central threatened in the sixth, but sophomore left-hander Jason Garrett came on to strand two Jaguars with foul out and a strikeout.
However, they tied the score at 5-5 in the seventh with a bases-loaded fielder’s choice.