Tupelo KO's Kiowa with late flurry

May 4—MOORE — After Kiowa scored a controversial run with two outs in the top of the fourth inning that tied the game, it looked like the Class B State Tournament matchup Thursday night between the Cowboys and the Tupelo Tigers was never going to end.

However, Tupelo pushed across six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to break the game open en route to a 9-3 victory.

"I knew once we got enough runs we'd be fine," Tupelo head coach Clay Weller told The Ada News following the game. "We found a way to win and that's what you have to do up here. I'm proud of them. We showed a lot of guts. Give our guys credit for hanging in there and making things happen when we needed to."

No. 3 Tupelo advanced to a Friday semifinal game opposite No. 2 Calumet at 21-6 on the year. Sixth-ranked Kiowa saw its season come to an end at 18-10.

Calumet advanced to the semifinals after shutting out No. 7 Roff 10-0 in six innings. The Tigers finished the spring at 19-11.

Tupelo 9, Kiowa 3

Things didn't go according to plan in the early going for the Tigers.

For whatever reason, Tupelo ace Davin Weller didn't have his good stuff against the Cowboys. He gave up two runs in the top of the first and had thrown 41 pitches in the opening frame.

With one out in the top of the second inning, coach Clay Weller decided to bring in freshman Aiden Walkup to relieve Davin Weller, who had already walked five Kiowa batters.

The decision paid off.

Walkup held the Cowboys to just one controversial run over the final six innings. He struck out six, didn't walk a batter and gave up no earned runs to pick up the pitching win.

It was a huge performance on a huge stage by the Tupelo rookie.

"He's a gamer in everything he does. He's been that way all year," Weller said. "He's come up with big plays offensively, defensively, on the mound — he's one of those guys that steps up in moments when you need him. He stepped up and saved us today."

A big play that didn't go Tupelo's way came in the top of the fourth inning.

With Kiowa trailing 3-2, Noah Foris reached on an error and went all the way to second to lead off the frame. With one out and Eli Foris at the plate, Noah Foris stole third. Eli Foris then hit a shallow fly ball to right field that looked like it was surely going to drop in for a single. But Tupelo right fielder Joseph Daniel had other ideas.

Daniel raced in and made a spectacular diving catch for the second out of the inning. Noah Foris raced home during the play and most of the big crowd in attendance — including Clay Weller — thought the Kiowa runner had left base early before tagging up.

After Weller conferred with the umpires, they still counted the run and the Cowboys had knotted the score at 3-3.

"We thought he came back and left early," Weller said.

That run wasn't nearly as huge after the Tigers erupted for six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Cash Wafford led off with a double and went to third when Davin Weller bunted for a base hit.

A Nate Medcalf sacrifice bunt attempt also turned into an infield hit and Tupelo had the bases loaded with no outs.

Freshman pinch-hitter Ryder Johnson then stepped to the plate and was hit by a pitch to force in a run and put Tupelo ahead 4-3.

Colton Bourland smashed a two-RBI double past a diving Eli Foris in right field that put the Tigers on top 6-3.

Walkup laid down Tupelo's third nifty bunt of the inning for a base hit that drove in another run and pushed the lead to 7-3.

Tupelo added two more runs on a ground ball to shortstop off the bat of Taecyn Meek and an RBI double by Peyton Bills, who drove the ball to the wall in center field.

The Tigers finished with seven total hits, including two apiece from Meek and Bills.

Shooter Boatright was solid on the mound for Kiowa. He struck out seven, walked three and allowed just one earned run in 5.1 innings of work.

There were nine total errors in the game — five by the Cowboys and four by Tupelo.