Walt Gardner

Indians' shortstop Walt Gardner throws across the diamond for an out.

TUPELO- The North Mississippi Junior Indians' Blue squad (17U) came from behind to pick up a 4-3 win over Tuscaloosa on Friday in the Tupelo Junior Tournament.

Tuscaloosa's Ty Mills drew a lead off walk in the 1st inning. Jon Woodard entered as a runner and stole second base before scoring the game's first run on a single by Connor Reilly. 

The Indians got a runner to third base in the top of the 2nd after a double from Walt Gardner (Pontotoc High School) but were unable to score. Tuscaloosa then plated two more in the bottom of the frame. Tanner Smith singled and came home on a double from William Ingram, and another run scored on an error to make it 3-0. 

The Indians again were unable to score despite a pair of runners in the 3rd, but they broke through in the 4th. Eli Harlow (Pontotoc High School) started things off with a single, and Gardner followed with a walk. A double play then put courtesy runner Adam Atkins at third with two outs, but Sam Mabus drew a walk and Atkins scored on a wild pitch.  Colton Moore cut it to 3-2 with a RBI hit, but the inning ended with Moore being thrown out trying to stretch the base knock to a double.

Bryce Reeder (North Pontotoc) entered on the mound for the Indians in the 5th, facing runners on the corners with one out. Reeder struck out the first batter he faced, then induced a ground out to keep the Indians only down one at 3-2.

Harlow had his second hit on the day with a one-out double down the left field line in the top of the 6th. Gardner plated courtesy runner Atkins with a single into shallow left field, tying the game at 3-3.

Tuscaloosa got its first two batters on base in the bottom of the sixth before Paul Reid was caught stealing third after a good throw from Indians catcher Eli Harlow. Reeder then got Smith to ground into an inning-ending double play.

The Indians pulled ahead for the first time after a two-out rally in the top of the 7th. Chris Fleming (South Pontotoc) drove a double into the left-center gap. Will McComb then gave them a 4-3 lead with an RBI single. 

Tuscaloosa put two runners on with nobody out in the bottom of the 7th. Mabus, who entered to start the inning on the mound, got a fielder's choice for the first out, with third baseman Colton Moore fielding a grounder and beating the runner to the third base bag to get the lead runner. Mabus subsequently struck out Andrew Stovall before closing out the game when Woodard, with runners on second and third, grounded out.

Later on Friday the "Blue" Indians fell to Lawrence, Tennessee 5-1. On Saturday they defeated Columbia, Tennessee 3-2 to enter Sunday as top seed out of their pool. They defeated Tupelo 7-2 in the semifinals before losing to Tuscaloosa 7-4 in the tournament championship game.

"We just ran out gas in that last game," said head coach Scotty Kyle. "But they had a good weekend."

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