Battle of the pitchers gets Tupelo win over Tigers
By Brad Greer
If Tuesday night’s Tupelo-South Panola matchup is any indication of how the Region 2-6A baseball race unfolds throughout the season, baseball fans will be in for a treat.
In a battle of left-handed starting pitchers, Tupelo’s freshman southpaw Hunter Elliot out dueled Tiger hurler Blaine Ware as the defending state champions came away with a 3-1 victory at a chilly Tiger Field.
Elliot, an Ole Miss commitment, scattered two hits over five innings while striking out nine to earn the win. Ware matched his counterpart pitch for pitch by fanning 10 in 6.1 innings while surrendering six hits and walking two. Caleb White relieved Ware in the seventh where he got a double play to end the inning.
Tupelo (10-3, 1-0) broke open a scoreless game in the fifth inning as leadoff hitter Josh Smith blooped a two-out double in front of a diving Wes Morgan in center field to give the visitors a 2-0 lead.
The Golden Wave loaded the bases in the frame without benefit of a hit as the bottom three batters in the lineup reached on a fielders’ choice, hit batter and walk to set up Smith’s go ahead hit.
South Panola (6-6, 0-1) plated their lone run in the bottom half of the frame as leadoff hitter Mari Boyd slapped a single into right with two outs to score courtesy runner Chris Brown from third base. Brown was running for catcher Braydyn Lee who walked to lead off the inning.
Tupelo added a huge insurance in the seventh as Smith struck yet again with a two-out single off of White to chase home Peyton Puckett to give the Wave a 3-1 cushion.
South Panola’s last gasp came in the seventh as they loaded the bases after two were out. Brandon Phelps started the would be rally by drawing a walk followed by consecutive singles by Morgan and Boyd.
Tupelo reliever John Luke Marlin put out the fire by striking out the next Tiger batter to end the game.
Boyd, who leads South Panola with a .394 batting average, paced the Tigers offensively with two singles while Morgan and Phelps accounted for singles.
South Panola’s defense which had committed 14 errors in their previous three games played error free baseball over seven innings.
Tupelo left five runners on base while the Tigers stranded seven on the base paths.
Tupelo (JV) 2,
South Panola 0
The Golden Wave came away with the junior varsity win by holding the Tiger bats to three hits over four innings.
John Culp doubled while Denver Brown and Brett Goss singled for South Panola.
Morgan tossed two innings on the mound for South Panola as Dre’ Moore and Nathan Walls pitched one inning each.
Seminary 6, South Panola 5
In South Panola’s 6-5 loss to Seminary last Friday, Ware blasted a two-run homer in the second inning while Bowen Williams added a solo shot in the fifth.
Caleb White took the pitching loss despite giving up one earned run in four innings.
The Tigers travel to Tupelo today at 4 and 6 p.m. before hosting Houston tomorrow at 12 and 2 p.m.