By David Wheeler

Daily Journal

TUPELO - Barely into the month of March, and the Tupelo Golden Wave were playing with a chip on their shoulder.

The object of that anger - the Columbus Falcons.

One season ago, with a pair of wins, the Falcons broke the Wave's multi-year strangle-hold the Region 2-5A championship in baseball. Thus Tupelo played on the road in the 2006 playoffs.

A bit of revenge was gained Friday as Tupelo opened its 2007 region slate with a 10-0 victory over the Falcons in five innings.

"Our guys played with an attitude tonight," Tupelo coach Gary Enis said. "We had to travel in the playoffs last year because of two loses to Columbus.

"Our guys were determined to not let that happen again."

Tupelo's dominance this night was convincing and balanced, from the first batter to the last pitch.

Joseph Koon had the first and last word for the Golden Wave (7-1, 1-0). Taking the mound for the Wave, Koon recorded an out on the very first, and the very last batter he faced over his five innings of work.

In between, Koon scattered just two hits, and only walked one. The Tupelo hurler also totaled five strike outs.

"The keys to our win started with pitching," Enis said. "Joseph was around the plate all night.

"And then we had clutch hitting with outs."

The Tupelo offense supported Koon with at least one run every inning, beginning in the first. There, Koon helped himself with a deftly placed triple to right field that scored two runs.

Tupelo also scored in the second inning on an RBI single by Clint Alford, and in the third inning on a two-run double by Matt Stratton. But the Wave really swung big bats in the bottom of the fourth inning.

In the fourth, Gardner Richey lofted a one-out, two-run home run to left field. That was followed by a two-out, two-run home run lined down the right field line by Kyle Thornton.

"We couldn't get the first pitch over for a strike," said first-year Columbus coach Jeffrey Cook, who previously had patrolled the Ripley dugout for 10 seasons. "Koon did a great job throwing strikes tonight.

"But we're going to battle, and we'll be back."

The Wave look to keep its momentum going through spring break before its next region contest.

Tupelo will host Lafayette at 1 p.m. and Amory at 7 p.m. today. The Wave will then play Itawamba AHS Monday and Amory Tuesday at Itawamba Community College.

Tupelo's next region contest is against Starkville March 20.

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