MADISON – Noah Tidwell was not having the best night.
But he wasn’t going to let a big opportunity go to waste.
Tidwell had a two-run single to break up a tie game in the top of the sixth inning to help lift Jackson Prep over Madison-Ridgeland Academy, 8-3, in Game 1 of the Academy AAA, Division I state championship series at Patriot Field on Tuesday night.
Game 2 of the series is set for tonight at Jackson Prep at 6:30 p.m.
“I had struck out the at-bat before so I was pretty pumped up and I timed the pitch well and got a good hit out of it,” Tidwell said. “Tonight we were able to get deep in the count and make their pitcher throw a lot of pitches, and that is big for us.”
With two outs, the bases loaded and the game tied at 3, Tidwell smacked a fastball to right center that scored two runs to give Jackson Prep the lead for good at 5-3. Tidwell finished the night 1 for 2.
“That was just a good at-bat for him and a big one at that,” said Mississippi State signee Jake Mangum. “We had guys that don’t get a ton of at-bats step up for us tonight, and if you are going to win big games you need people to step up.”
The Patriots (34-3) put up five runs in the sixth inning to break things open.
“One of things that has drove us all year is getting deep into pitch counts and we walk a lot and we were able to dig deep into their bullpen,” said Jackson Prep coach Chuck Box. “I told Noah that he was going to have a chance to win the game and he stepped up.”
Dandy Dozen and Mississippi State signee Noah Hughes (12-0) tossed a complete game, scattering six hits. He gave up three unearned runs and had nine strikeouts. He was able to get out of two bases-loaded situations in the third and fourth innings.
“I just tried to clear my head and throw strikes and know my defense was there behind me to make plays,” Hughes said. “To start off my location was not where it needed it to be, but after the big sixth inning I just settled in and threw strikes.”
Knox Loposer had three hits to lead Jackson Prep offensively, while Brock Newman added two hits for the Patriots, who will be seeking their third straight Academy AAA Division I state championship tomorrow night.
“Guys just stepped up tonight when we needed them too,” Box said. “Now we have the opportunity of winning a state championship at home tomorrow and that is something we have not been able to do in a while.”
Trammell Martin had two hits to lead MRA (24-12) at the plate. Tanner Propst (8-1) was the losing pitcher for the Patriots.
“We didn’t take advantage of opportunities, and that is what cost us,” said MRA coach Allen Pavatte.
Contact Brandon Shields at (601) 961-7248 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @BShields_CL on Twitter.