TUPELO – Just a day after stranding runners on third base in three innings, Tupelo finally figured out how to move its guys over the plate, thanks to an unlikely source.
Jack Ikerd didn’t know he’d be playing three days ago but had four RBIs in his fifth start of the season to boost the Golden Wave in the deciding Game 3 against DeSoto Central on Saturday, 10-7 in the MHSAA 6A quarterfinals.
“Ike had played for us this year in different roles, mainly on defense,” Tupelo head coach Justin Reed said. “He’s a great player and came up big.”
Tupelo evened the score at 2 in the bottom of the third with a Tanner Jaggers single.
Ikerd came to the plate in the bottom of the third for Tupelo (22-9), filling in for Stephen Matthews, who broke his hand in Game 1. Ikerd had runners on second and third and had a hit that went between shortstop and second.
The hit brought home both runners. He brought home two more in the sixth off a single.
“When the lights come on, you just want to be ready and come up big for your team,” Ikerd said.
Jackson Bridges had a RBI single in the fourth for some insurance. In the sixth, DeSoto Central walked in another run.
DeSoto Central (24-9) made a final stand in the seventh, scoring four runs, but were unable to fully close the gap. The Jaguars entered the final inning down seven.
Tupelo advances to the North finals to face Hernando on Thursday. Tupelo has defeated Hernando three times this season.
“They have gotten hot and are playing really well,” Reed said. “Going to enjoy this for 24 hours, then start thinking ahead.”