By Robbie Robertson
Winston County Journal
In terms of the playoffs, it didn’t mean a thing. In matters of confidence, Thursday’s 7-6 win over Nanih Waiya meant the world to the Tigers.
On Tuesday, the Tigers fell apart in the field, committed seven errors in two innings that allowed the Warriors to score 11 runs and take a 12-1 win.
“I thought R.J. (Pierce) pitched extremely well in that first game,” Noxapater coach Casey Orr said. “It was 1-1 in the fifth and the wheels fell off and we had seven errors in those two innings. You can’t do that with a good team like Nanih Waiya. The score was not indicative of the game. It was a great game for five innings. You just can’t give them anything.”
Then the Tigers responded with a 7-6 win on Thursday.
“I can’t even describe how big that win was for our kids,” Orr said. “It was huge for our confidence and morale. Nanih Waiya has been the standard bearer for our district the last few years and our kids know how good they are. I honestly can’t remember the last time they lost a game in our district. So that’s huge for our confidence as we go into the playoffs. I feel like we are peaking at the right time. We are 8-2 in our last 10 games and that’s good for us.”
The Tigers were scheduled to return to action this week when they host Choctaw Central on Monday for Senior night at 6 p.m. They will travel to Pelahatchie on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The Tigers are set to face Mount Olive in the first round of the Class 1A South State playoffs. Game 1 is set for Friday and Game 2 would be Saturday with an if-necessary contest on the following Monday. Times have not been set.
Nanih Waiya 12, Noxapater 1
Nanih Waiya broke open a close game with big fifth and sixth innings to take a run-rule victory over Noxapater on Tuesday.
The game was tight for most of the contest as Nanih Waiya took a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Noxapater tied it at 1-1 with a single run in the bottom of the fourth. Nanih Waiya broke the game open in the fifth with five runs and six runs in the sixth.
The Tigers only had three hits in the contest as Bradon Kugle was 2-for-2 with a triple and drove in the Tigers’ only run. R.J. Pierce had a single and scored the Tigers’ only run.
Pierce pitched 5 2/3 innings and was tagged with the loss, giving up 12 runs on seven hits with only five of the runs being earned as the defense committed 10 errors in the field. Pierce struck out seven and walked two. Dalton Carter got the final out and gave up one hit.
Noxapater 7, Nanih Waiya 6
The Tigers built a big lead and had to hold on in the bottom of the seventh to take a one-run win over the Warriors.
Noxapater scored two runs in the first and third innings for a 4-0 lead. Nanih Waiya scored a single run in the fourth inning before Noxapater scored three in the sixth inning to take a 7-1 lead. But the Tigers opened the gates with two errors in the bottom of the seventh that allowed the Warriors to score five runs.
The Tigers had 10 hits in the contest, led by R.J. Pierce who was 3-for-4 with a double, triple and home run. He scored twice and drove in three runs. Keonte Daniels was also 2-for02 and scored two while Caleb Chandler was 2-for-3 and drove in a run. Brandon Kugle also had a single and drove in a run while Braden Estes and Quinton Jordan had singles and scored runs.
Hunter Johnson got the win on the mound, pitching 6 1/3 innings and scattering nine hits while allowing six runs. Keonte Daniels got the final two outs and got the save for the Tigers.