BATESVILLE – There was a sense of purpose abut the Tupelo Golden Wave baseball team Tuesday. The squad had not won a division opener in two seasons.
The Wave ended that streak, surviving a good pitchers duel, scratching out runs to back the complete game of senior Carter Clayton to claim a 3-1 victory over the South Panola Tigers in the Division 2-6A opener for both teams.
“I thought the key tonight was Carter Clayton,”Tupelo head ooach Gary Enis said. “On the road, and even after the long layoff between starts, he was sharp. After the first week of division play a year ago, we were 0-2, so it was good to get this win.”
Making his second start of the season, Clayton scattered 3 hits while striking out five and only walking one.
“We’re real excited to get this win,” Clayton said. “This pushes us off to a good start in division play.”
And while the Tupelo (7-2, 1-0) offense was mostly held in check by South Panola (6-4, 0-1) stater Austin Towles, the Wave were able to manufacture enough runs for the victory.
South Panola cracked the scoreboard first, in the bottom of the first. Dashawn Lindsay connected for a one-out double to left, eventually scoring on a passed ball with two away for the 1-0 Tigers lead. Tupelo squared the affair in the top of the third as Hudson Roy reached base on an error, as did Clayton. Roy then scored as Clayton was caught in a rundown.
Tupelo then tacked on two more runs in the fifth inning, Reed Taylor was hit by a pitch, then scored on a triple by Roy down the right field line. Michael Ray then lofted a sacrifice fly to score Roy, and the Wave made the advantage stand up.
“This was great for our team,” said Roy, who will be the starting pitcher Friday when the Wave host the Tigers at 6 p.m. “I’m looking forward to getting the ball. South Panola is a good hitting team, and I’ll have to work hard.”