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Tallahatchie put on a pitcher's showcase Monday in the opening night of the inaugural season of the BNA Bank Cotton states Baseball League. The Rascals swept the Tupelo Thunder 3-1 and 7-0 to start their season at 2-0.
Chris Basil’s Rascals squad picked up the first win behind a stellar defensive effort.
The Thunder opened the game loading the bases after a double by Ladarrius Cole, Golden Grasse was hit by a pitch and Kevin Williams hit single, all with one out. Rascals pitcher and Ole Miss signee Jon Andy Scott got Tallahatchie out of trouble with back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning.
The Rascals would get on the board first, as Ben Wallis led off for in the bottom of the second and was brought home on a single by Brancy Cummins, scoring the first run of the league. Cummins later scored on a passed ball, making it 2-0 for the Rascals after two.
Tupelo would respond, as Kevin Williams of Corinth had the lead off single, followed by Dustin Lunn. A walk by Zach Scott loaded the bases, and on an unassisted out at first, Williams came home, making it 2-1. Clint Alford struck out, again getting Scott out of trouble, as the Thunder only managed the one run.
Tupelo threatened in the again fourth, as Matt Lewis reached base on a single. A passed ball during Williams’ at bat advanced Lewis to third, but he would be left stranded after a flyout to left by Williams.
The Rascals would get an insurance run in the sixth, as Chris Lucius reached after being hit by a pitch. Lucius would steal both second and third, and on an error at third base, scored the Rascals third run.
Williams, Lunn and Scott were all walked to load the bases for the Thunder in the seventh with one out, but relief pitcher Zan Treadaway got out of trouble, striking out Jake Sloan and Alford to give the Rascals the historic first win.
Tupelo got the loss after leaving 14 stranded in the game and despite out hitting the Rascals 9-1, which is a true testament to the Rascals’ defense.
“It goes back to making quality pitches when you have to,” Rascals head coach Chris Basil said. “These guys have been in those situations and are not afraid to throw inside, and I think that's going to be the difference this year, a kid who will throw a fast ball at their hands.”
Scott (1-0) picked up the win, going 6.1 innings, allowing one run off eight hits with seven strikeouts. Cummins had the lone hit for Tallahatchie, while Cole went 3-for-4 with a double and Lunn was 2-for-4 to lead the Thunder offensively.
Bennett (0-1) picked up the loss, pitching a complete game with three runs off one hit and 10 strikeouts.
In the second game, Jason Howell (1-0) kept the Thunder scoreless with only one hit, as the Rascals won 7-0.
Jimel Judon started things with a leadoff double in the second for Tallahatchie and was advanced on a single by David Williams. Brancy Cummins was hit by a pitch, loading the bases for Tallahatchie, and a single by Colby Maxwell gave the Rascals their first run. Tallahatchie would pick up two more runs, as Corbin Moore was walked and a flyout by Drew Dillard scored Williams, making it 3-0.
Four straight walks loaded the bases and scored the Rascals’ fourth run with two outs in the fifth. Tallahatchie expanded the lead to 7-0 after a wild play on an RBI single by Maxwell. After Maxwell reached on first, two more runners scored on an error, extending the lead.
The closest Tupelo came to scoring was in the second, as a leadoff single by Lunn started the inning, but Lunn would be stranded at third.
“Our pitching staff did a tremendous job throwing strikes when we needed them,' Basil said. “We dominated pitching wise. We got outhit 9-1 in game one, got a couple walks and a big hit situation and stole some bases, and that's what we're going to have to do, play small ball. We don't have the guys who can go night in and night out and bat .320. This league is a pitcher's league, and that's the reason we won two ball games tonight. We had some great pitching performances.”
Maxwell led the Rascals offensively in game two, going 2-for-3 with two RBI.
Howell picked up the win going six innings, allowing only one hit with seven strikeouts.
“Jason is a tremendous pitcher,” Basil said. “He's thrown more tonight than he has all year at Troy. He just absolutely dominated the baseball game. He did a tremendous job. We didn't let him throw the seventh inning, but I'm very impressed with his effort tonight.”
Tupelo will next be in action on Thursday as they will play visitor to the Jets, while Tallahatchie will take on the North Delta Dealers at 6 pm on Friday.