The Tupelo Golden Wave will soon be welcomed to the 2014 baseball playoffs. And greeting the Wave will be a school that always brings a high level of tradition and intensity when the two meet – the Madison Central Jaguars.
In first round action of the Class 6A playoffs, Tupelo and Madison Central will meet for a best of three series beginning today.
Tupelo will host Game 1 with a 6 p.m. starting time today at Golden Wave Field. Game 2 moves to Madison Central Friday, also a 6 p.m. start. If needed, Game 3 would be back in Tupelo Saturday at 2 p.m.
“This is a big one for our school, for our students,” Tupelo head baseball coach Gary Enis said. “Any sport we play, it seems we have to go through Madison Central. I’m looking forward to the series.”
Tupelo (20-8) got to this point by winning the regular season title in Division 2-6A, earning a bye. Madison Central (13-12) finished third in 3-6A, starting 0-5 in league play before finishing on a 3-1 run. In the play-in round last week, Madison Central took care of Horn Lake in three games.
Also for the first time ever, the two played during the regular season, with the Jaguars winning both games. At Madison, Tupelo lost 6-4 on March 29. And in April 18, the home-standing Wave lost 8-7, leaving the tying run at third base in the bottom of the seventh.
“Those games gave us an idea what kind of offense they have,” Enis said. “In those two games, they put the ball in play. We’ll have to play solid defensively.”
Both Tupelo and Madison Central did not throw their top pitchers in the two regular season meetings. Enis expects to throw senior Hudson Roy (4-1) today, then senior Carter Clayton (7-1) on the road Friday.
In the April 18 meeting, the Jaguars had 11 hits while the Wave had 10, including a grand slam by junior catcher William Ikerd, and three hits by Ty Wheeler. Roy currently leads Tupelo with a .351 batting average, followed by Wheeler at .341, while senior centerfielder Michael Ray paces Tupelo with 22 RBI.
“Every team member needs to step up and be ready to contribute,” Enis said. “Right now we need to be mentally sharp.”
In the bottom half of the North 6A bracket, the Tupelo-Madison Central winner will face the winner of Clinton-Columbus.