Starkville Daily News
Wolverines beat Chargers to open division play
Webster on Tuesday night.
MABEN – When division baseball comes around, every game matters and that's how East Webster and Choctaw County played out on Tuesday night.
The two teams have become close rivals since before joining each other's division in Class 2A, Region 4 and both teams will continue that heated matchup when they move to Class 3A next season.
The first game of a twogame showdown this week made its stop in Cumberland on Tuesday and the two teams were locked in a stalemate late.
A three-run sixth inning for the Wolverines gave Carson Norwood a chance to pitch with the most confidence he had all night and finish off a complete-game 6-3 win for the Wolverines. It was another big conference win for East Webster to move to 3-0 in the early going.
“I knew that I had a good team behind me so I knew I could throw strikes,” Norwood said. “Overall, I felt like we did decent. I was very comfortable in the seventh. My team came through for me. We put up three runs in the bottom of the sixth, let me come out and throw strikes in the seventh and get us home.”
It was a game where mistakes were actually as prevalent as hits for the two teams as each starting pitcher battled, but some errors and base running miscues were the story, especially for the Chargers.
Choctaw County missed some chance on the base paths and coach Ben Tillman took responsibility for it postgame. In a game that was back and forth in the middle innings, every run mattered and Tillman felt like his team left a few out there.
“The ole coach stepped on his feet a couple of times and made some calls he shouldn't have,” Tillman said. “That's on me. We've got to do some things better in general. We had some errors in the field that cost us down the road. (Hayden) Tuck didn't have his best stuff on the mound, but he fought through it and competed the whole game.”
From the second inning to the fourth, neither team was willing to give in. The Chargers broke through with the game's first run in the second when a wild pitch scored from second base. The Wolverines were able to come back with
an answer in the bottom of the frame as an error and a single led to Jordan Gaskin singling home two runs for the 2-1 lead.
Choctaw County came right back in the top of the third on a two-out RBI single from Alex Telano, but he was thrown out at second trying to stretch it into a double with two outs. East Webster scored a run on an RBI bunt single from Mason Richardson in the bottom of the frame to give the Wolverines a 3-2 lead.
In the fourth, Luke Beard had one of the loudest hits of the night when he doubled home a run to tie it, but both teams settled in on the mound. That was until the bottom of the sixth inning when the Wolverines started to get things stirring.
Back-to-back walks to start the inning and a sacrifice bunt from Mason Mccurdy turned the lineup over and had two in scoring position for Stetson Perkins. It was a classic East Webster offensive inning as Perkins took advantage of the small ball and doubled home both runs to get the lead. An RBI from Cade Morrow followed and it was suddenly 6-3.
“Stetson comes up with a big hit,” Hutchison said. “He's a gritty little ball player and a tough out.that's who we are – small ball, move guys over and give yourself up so the next guy can get a chance.”
Norwood finished the game off with two strikeouts in the three-up-three down final frame and the Wolverines got the win. Norwood was the Starkville Daily News Athlete of the Week two weeks ago after throwing a no-hitter and he was good again in Tuesday's game with a complete seven innings, four scattered hits, two earned runs, two walks and six strikeouts.
“I thought he was great,” Hutchison said of Norwood. “He got better as the game went on. He really pounded the strike zone. What we've always talked about with Carson is learn to trust your stuff. He's hard to hit and when he goes right at hitters, he's tough. I'm extremely proud of him.”
East Webster (9-5-1, 3-0 Region 4) had five hits in the game with Perkins delivering two of those and two RBI on his double along with a walk. Gaskin had the two RBI on his hit and a walk as well.
For the Chargers (5-5, 0-1 Region 4), Tuck delivered a solid start with five innings, just three hits, two earned runs, six walks and eight strikeouts. Choctaw County had just four hits offensively and Beard had the team's only RBI.
With a win on Thursday night in Ackerman, the Wolverines
will be in the driver's seat for the Region 4 championship, but it won't be easy. The Chargers have a chance
to get right back in position with a victory themselves and they will be hosting at Tom Glasgow Park at 7 p.m.