Former Ripley standout, Wilbanks, relishes wins over home-county teams

Andy Wilbanks, wearing No. 13, walks off the mound after making a pitching change. Wilbanks is a 2000 graduate of Ripley. He guided the Ingomar Falcons to wins against Pine Grove and Ripley on Saturday.

Former Ripley baseball standout Andy Wilbanks said he doesn't normally ask his Ingomar Falcons to win a game for him, but he admits he does when they face teams from his old stomping ground of Tippah County.

The 2000 Ripley High School graduate got just that on Saturday as the Falcons defeated Pine Grove and Ripley.

"These guys know that it's big anytime we play somebody from Tippah County. I don't ever ask them to win games for me, but with these games I do. So it's a pride thing," said a smiling Wilbanks following their 10-inning 6-5 win over Ripley.  "(Ripley) has a good team and Pine Grove is better and they are playing pretty well. It was good for us to have a good day today. Hopefully we can carry it forward."

Ingomar took care of Pine Grove, 13-3, behind 11 hits, including a 3-run shot to left field by Logan Nobles for a 5-2 lead in the fourth inning.

They looked to shutout the Tigers, but with the Falcons leading 5-0 in the top of the seventh, Ripley responded with five runs. Tied at 2-2, a bases-clearing double by Tucker Childers tied the game at 5-5.

Ingomar (11-5) won in the bottom of the 10th on a RBI-single by Brady Cox scoring Matt Browning. Cox saved the game in the top half of the inning with a bullseye throw from center field to get Ripley's Cooper Cox at the plate for the second out of the inning.

Wilbanks wished things would have went quietly in the seventh, but hopes persevering through the extra innings will help down the road.

"I wished it would have ended sooner, but you know, it's always good to have some fireworks and see your kids fight and not give up and come through in the end," he said. "Hopefully we'll get more from doing that than just making it easy in the seventh.

"We made some really good defensive plays in some innings when the pressure was on, and that's probably the best thing to come out of today, seeing us make plays against a good team."


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