Tupelo uses 14 hits to defeat Starkville
Starkville High School baserunner Hayden Higginbotham, right, gets back to first base as Tupelo's J. D. Roberts waits for the throw from his pitcher. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
The Starkville Yellowjackets and Tupelo Golden Wave moved up their Class 6A, Region 2 baseball game to Thursday in attempts to beat today's forecasted bad weather.
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It may not have rained Thursday, but that didn't keep the Wave from rising early.
Tupelo came in and pounded out 14 hits against SHS pitching and went on to a 10-1 victory at Yellowjacket Field.
Everyone in the starting lineup for the Golden Wave had a hit except for Ben Hudspeth.
"We got some big hits from our offense and we're proud to keep it going," Tupelo coach Gary Enis said. "It's about putting the ball in play and forcing their defense to work and make plays. We did a good job for the most part of putting the ball in play and making them make the plays."
Starkville head coach Danny Carlisle said there were moments when his club didn't play well enough on defense and gave the Wave some easy runs.
"The thing about it we made a 4-6-3 doubleplay to end the first inning and I thought maybe we were going to be alright," Carlisle said. "Defensively, we were for a while. In the third inning when they scored their first run, if we are where we are supposed to be, they don't score that run."
William Goss scored the first run for Tupelo when the baseball got loose behind the plate on the throw from the outfield. The Golden Wave got another run on an RBI single by Connor Carothers.
After Luke Davis hit a two-run home run for Tupelo in the fourth, it got two more runs on a single by Cody Shrewsbury to increase its lead to 6-0.
Starkville's Hayden Higginbotham, who had the only hit up until that point with a second-inning single, cranked a solo homer in the fifth frame to break scoring ice. Nathan Pugh had the only other hit for the Jackets with a sixth-inning single.
The Golden Wave padded their lead over the next two innings with two runs on three hits in the sixth and seventh.
Hudspeth may not have contributed anything offensively for Tupelo because his pitching more than made up for it. He only gave up the three hits, had 11 strikeouts, issued no walks and did hit a batter.
Carlisle said a pitcher like Hudspeth doesn't need any help, but Starkville was in a giving mood.
"We didn't go up to the plate with the same approach we've had the last three games," Carlisle said. "The last three games before (Thursday) we had 39 hits. We took a lot of pitches and took a lot of first-pitch fastballs. When you get behind to someone who is going to fill it up, you are going to hit his pitch instead of you hitting one of your pitches."
Pugh was the starting and losing pitcher for the Jackets and was followed to the mound by Blake Harrell, Wesley Montgomery and Max Bartlett.
Prior to the loss to the Golden Wave, Starkville had won three of its last four games and were also gaining respect.
"They beat a good South Panola team here last Friday, then went down to Pearl to play two games, split, but could have won both of those," said Enis, who saw his team improve to 21-1 overall and 8-0 in the region. "They were definitely playing some good ball."
With the loss, the Jackets fell to 8-11 overall and 2-6 in the region.
After playing at Meridian on Saturday (11 a.m.), Starkville closes out the regular season at South Panola Tuesday with still slim playoff chances on the line.
If Columbus loses to South Panola and Tupelo, it opens the door for SHS to get into the playoffs. Still the Jackets have to win at South Panola.
"We've got to go to Meridian and tune back up, then go to South Panola and take care of business on Tuesday," Carlisle said. "It's going right down to the end."