PONTOTOC – Tupelo Golden Wave senior Carter Clayton had to be one tired puppy after Saturday.
Especially his right arm.
Clayton threw an exceptional 10 innings and junior William Ikerd blasted a game-winning home run as the Golden Wave outlasted the Pontotoc Warriors 5-3 in a marathon 12 innings.
“I’ve never come that close to pitching that many innings,” Clayton said. “I’m just glad the team stayed through the game.”
Clayton started the contest, striking out 10 and scattering seven hits over the course of the contest. Clayton gave way to Graham Taylor in the eleventh inning, but went back to the mound and threw one pitch to begin the twelveth inning to be e pitcher of record.
Garrett Hill eventually earned the save for Tupelo (4-1).
“I was real proud of the way we fought, and kept fighting,” Tupelo head coach Gary Enis said. “I think we’ll be a very dangerous team once we start hitting one through nine in the order.”
Tupelo took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning on a Hudson Roy single. Luke Weeden scored on the play from second base, knocking ball loose at the plate on his slide.
Pontotoc’s Will Howard tied the contest in the sixth inning on a solo home run.
Play kept progressing past regulation, thanks in part to the Wave defense. In the ninth inning, Pontotoc had the bases loaded, but second baseman Carson Robets snagged a hard grounder and flipped to Woody Goss to get Tupelo out of trouble.
In the tenth, walks to Taylor and Michael Ray, along with a single by Ty Wheeler loaded the bases, and Ikerd drew a walk to give the Wave a 2-1 lead. Pontotoc responded in the bottom of the frame as Caleb Barnes hit a solo home run, and the contest was tied again.
Finally Tupelo gained a nice enough margin in the twelveth as Ray was hit, Wheeler walked, and Ikerd blasted his game-winner to left field, all with two out.
Pontotoc did managed to score once more in the bottom of the inning before Ray hauled in the final out on a fly to center.
“Carter had quick innings, and a low pitch count,” Enis said. “Ikerd is certainly capable doing that with the bat, and the guys who got on ahead of him deserve credit for extending the inning.
Tupelo is in action again Tuesday at Oxford versus Southaven, and Wednesday at Oxford versus Lake Cormarant. Tupelo will host Oxford Saturday.
The Tupelo-Pontotoc game was the Wave’s second game of the day. The first game saw Tupelo make four runs in the first two innings stand up, edging the Alcorn Central Bears 4-3.
In the first innings, Hudson Roy doubled, scoring on a Michael Ray hit.
The Wave plated three runs in the second, as Matthew Miley hit a one-out double, scoring with two outs on a Luke Weeden single. Roy and Chase Cernigliaro then followed with RBI hits for a 4-1.
Central scored a run in the top of the second on a double steal, in the third on a solo home run by Tyler Moore, and in the fifth on a sacrifice fly.
Sophomore left Jason Garrett got his second start of the season, throwing five and a third innings. Graham Taylor came on for the save.