Winona could have been considered an ungracious host when the Tigers hosted a baseball tournament last Friday and Saturday. Winona totaled 48 runs in wins over Choctaw County 15-7, J.Z. George 18-1 and Kirk Academy 15-5.
Despite the onslaught, Coach Mark Austin said the Tigers are not at their offensive peak. But he did say “We are a lot more patient. We're seeing a lot more pitches. Our two-strike approach is better than last year.”
The Tigers fell behind Choctaw County 5-0, then erupted for eight runs in the third. The big blow was a grand slam by Garrett Ables. Winona added five runs in the fourth and three in the fifth.
Mitch Stewart had three hits with an RBI and scored a run and Blake Cooper had two hits, one RBI and scored twice. Five pitchers combined to give up six hits with six strikeouts. Devandre Bays was the most effective, allowing one hit and no runs in 2.1 innings.
The J.Z. George game lasted only three innings. Cooper and Jacob Myers combined to allow no hits, with five strikeouts. Stewart had three hits, three RBIs and scored twice and Nick Murphy had two hits, two RBIs and one run scored.
The Kirk game was close until Winona scored six times in the bottom of the sixth, ending the contest under the 10-run rule. Stewart and Ables both had a homer and single. Ables scored four runs and drove in four, Stewart plated two and scored twice.
Cooper, Jon Reuben Chesteen and Steven Mann each doubled and Hagan Ware had two hits. Chesteen and Bays allowed seven hits with seven strikeouts combined on the mound prior to the tournament, Winona was defeated 8-5 by Nanih Waiya, a two-time defending state champion. The Tigers took a 5-4 lead with three runs in the fifth and two in the sixth, but Nanih Waiya scored four times in the seventh.
Stewart had a double, one RBI and scored one run.
Winona plays at French Camp Saturday and at Morton Monday.