By Myra Bean
The South Panola Tigers lost to the nationally-ranked Tupelo Golden Wave 4-3, but they have nothing to hang their heads about.
Tupelo is ranked No. 9 by Baseball America and No. 1 in the state, but came up against a determined Tiger baseball team.
Behind the complete game pitching of Colton Ales, the Tigers held Tupelo scoreless until the third inning.
“We had our chance, but in baseball you do not always get the big hit,” said head coach Patrick Robey.
For the first time of the night, the Tigers loaded the bases, trailing 4-1, in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Leadoff batter Ryan Maxwell got hit by a pitch to get on base and Corbin Moore singled. Monroe Harrison also got hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Power hitter Tyler Benson got on base on a fielder’s choice and drove home Maxwell while Harrison was out going to second base for the first out. Whit Whitten was up to bat next and drove home Moore on a single. He got to second on a passed ball while Benson rounded to third on the same.
On a full count, Ethan Bright was struck out for the second out of the inning.
David Renfroe was given the benefit of the doubt and put on base, again loading the bases.
Robbie Brown was up to bat, but the hit ball fell between home plate and the pitcher. Tupelo relief pitcher Kyle Thornton connected with the catcher for the third out as Benson tried to tie the score at home.
“Colton pitched extremely well,” Robey said. “We played as well as we could with the exception of two mistakes. When you are playing the No. 9 team in the nation, you can’t make mistakes.”
Robey said they felt like other teams who come in and play South Panola football.
“We played really well, real hard,” Robey said. “I told them if they play every game with that intensity, we will win a lot more. Playing them that close gave us a lot of confidence.”
South Panola did not get its first run across until the bottom of the fourth inning. Renfroe walked and then stole second base. On a single RBI to left field by Joseph Blair, Renfroe scored from second.
Chris Stratton got the win for Tupelo. Thornton got the save.
The Tigers and Tupelo were to square up again Friday, but that game was postponed due to inclement weather until March 27.
The Tigers made up Saturday’s game with Byhalia yesterday and won 14-2.
South Panola will play at Oxford today at 5 and 7 p.m. Thursday, they will play Desoto Central at Ole Miss at 6:30 p.m.