CATEGORY: Baseball

AUTHOR: PEPPER

HED:Wave wins 1-5A crown

By Bobby Pepper

Daily Journal

When it boiled down to one final game to decide the Division 1-5A championship, Tupelo came up with the plays Tuesday to win it.

Latanya White's three-run homer in the sixth inning and error-free fielding the entire game lifted the Lady Wave to a 7-4 victory over South Panola for the 1-5A title. The victory at the Eastwood Complex also gave Tupelo (17-6) home-field advantage in the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs.

"We got the timely hits, we played great defense and we were positive on the pitching," Tupelo head coach Ken Smith said. "We made the plays to win the championship."

Tupelo (17-6 overall, 4-0 division) hosts Madison Central in a best-of-three opening round series Saturday, starting at 1 p.m. South Panola (12-7, 2-2), the 1-5A runner-up, travels to Clinton.

White's deep fly ball to right-center field with one out in the sixth broke a 4-4 tie. The homer scored Shea Stanford, who reached first on an error, and Lindsey Armstrong, who went in as a courtesy runner after pinch-hitter Brooke Iverson reached first on a fielder's choice.

"All I was just thinking about is getting a base hit," White, a freshman left fielder, said. "I wanted to hit it up the middle."

While Tupelo got the big hits to take the lead, it also relied on flawless fielding to stop South Panola.

White and Heather Wilemon made inning-ending diving catches in the outfield that stranded three Lady Tigers in scoring position. Also, third baseman Carla Smith and shortstop Emily Nail made quick throws home to force out runners when South Panola twice loaded the bases.

"We settled in and played great defense," Smith said. "I thought our outfield play was a key to the game."

South Panola committed an error in the four innings Tupelo scored.

"Errors have been our downfall the last two weeks of the season," South Panola coach Kim Wilson said. "We peaked offensively at the right time but our defense has set us back."

Tupelo's first four runs came on RBI hits by Wilemon, Debralee Jefcoat and Jennifer Pruitt. Stephanie Owen, Jennifer Dickerson, Melanie Johnson and Kate Turner all had RBI hits for South Panola.

TUPELO 7, SOUTH PANOLA 4

South Panola 102 010 0 4 12 4

Tupelo 102 013 x 7 12 0

WP - Debralee Jefcoat; LP - Leslie Girner; Multiple Hits - (T) Latanya White 3, Jefcoat 2, Emily Nail 2, (SP) Kristy Bolen 3, Meredith Carlson 2, Girner 2; 2B - (SP) Bolen; 3B - (SP) Stephanie Owen, (T) Carla Smith, Jefcoat; HR - (T) White. Records - Tupelo 17-6 overall, 4-0 division; South Panola 12-7 overall, 2-2 division.

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