TUPELO – The spirit of the Tupelo Golden Wave-Madison Central Jaguars rivalry was basically at full speed Friday in a rare regular season baseball game between the schools.
Round 2 in 2014 goes to Madison Central.
In front of a nice home crowd on the last weekend prior to the post-season, Madison Central was the team that survived a back-and-forth affair for an 8-7 victory.
“This is part of the reason we scheduled them, to get that playoff intensity,” Tupelo head coach Gary Enis said. “We can learn from our mistakes.”
Both the Wave (18-7) and the Jaguars (11-10) entered the contest with a spot in the playoffs ensured, and a potential matchup down the line. And Saturday was a good playoff prequel.
Central edged it’s way to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning after a leadoff double by Blake Morton, followed by a bunt and a sacrifice fly. That first inning double was the first of five two-baggers for the Jaguars.
After getting runners in scoring position the first two innings, the Wave exploded onto the scoreboard in the third. With one out, two walks and a hit loaded the bases, bringing catcher William Ikerd to the plate. The junior connected on a pitch, sending the ball over the left field wall for a grand slam and a 4-1 Tupelo lead. This was Ikerd’s second home run of the season.
But it was not the last of the offensive fireworks for this contest. Madison Central responded with three runs in the fourth, initially loading the bases with no outs. Two singles and a fielder’s choice plated the runs to tie the game at 4-4.
Tupelo forged back ahead in the bottom of the fourth. Woody Goss lead off with a single, later scoring on a Hudson Roy double. Madison Central made its decisive move in the fifth. The Jaguars had five hits in the frame, including three doubles, that scored four as the visitors grabbed an 8-5 advantage.
The Wave dented that margin in the fifth. Tupelo loaded the bases with one out, but only scored one on a Goss bunt. Tupelo also scored once in its last at bat on a sacrifice fly by Jason Garrett, and had the tying run on third when the game ended.
Sophomore Drew Hurst was the starter for this contest, pitching into the fourth inning. Senior Luke Weeden came on in the fourth after two batters, and senior Ty Wheeler came on in the fifth after two batters. Wheeler also had three hits on the evening.
“We had better contact hitting throughout the lineup, but we didn’t get the clutch hits,” Enis said. “We’re going to come out Saturday and watch two good teams battle, then we’re going to out and play.”
Good matchups of Class 6A team continue Saturday/today at Golden Wave Field as Madison Central will face the Clarion Ledger No. 2 team in the state – DeSoto Central – at noon. Tupelo will then face DeSoto Central at approximately 3 p.m.
This might not be the final matchup between Tupelo and Madison Central. The Jaguars will face Horn Lake in the play-in round next weekend, with the winner facing the Wave in the first round of the playoffs. Madison Central won a March contest against Tupelo 6-4.