TUPELO • Early aggression paid off big for the Tupelo 49ers on Saturday.
A seven-run first inning held up for Tupelo in a 15-1 win over Mayfield (Ky.) at the King City Classic. The win sends the 49ers into the semifinal round, which will be held Sunday at Northeast Community College, followed by the championship game.
Tupelo wasted no time against Mayfield. Conner Davis smashed a leadoff double, stole third base, and scored on a Mack Scruggs groundout.
Jackson McCoy then walked, stole second and third, and scored on Alex Marshall’s single for a 2-1 Tupelo lead.
That seemed to shake Mayfield pitcher Matthew Ray, who then issued four-straight walks and never made it out of the inning.
“We had a good plan at the plate,” Tupelo coach McKinley Holland said. “I told them to be aggressive today. I said don’t let fastballs go by us, and we didn’t.”
Holland said his team’s offense is still “a work in progress,” but the 49ers have swung it well the last two games. That’s started with Davis, who had three hits in Friday’s 10-0 win against Tuscaloosa (Ala.).
The shortstop was moved from the three hole to the leadoff spot a couple of weeks ago, and that helped him break out of a slump.
“I bat leadoff at Northeast, and swapping from the three hole to leadoff puts me back in that role, and I can get in a groove,” Davis said.
Marshall had three hits and two RBIs for Tupelo. McCoy had two hits, as did Caleb Goddard, who also scored three runs.
After giving up a run in the first inning, Tupelo starter Zac Gann cruised. He pitched all five innings, allowing three hits with five strikeouts and one walk.
Mayfield lost to Pontotoc, 8-1, in an earlier game Saturday.
Big Inning: Tupelo scored seven runs on just three hits in the first inning. One of those hits was a two-run double by Grayson Stone for a 6-1 lead.
Big Stat: Four of Tupelo’s 11 hits were doubles.
Coach Speak: “That’s been our Achilles’ heel is our pitchers have been having to pitch in tight ballgames. … The last two nights we’ve had guys just absolutely giving that support early.” – Holland.