May 25—BELDEN — Even with a sore arm, Noah Foster knew he had to go the distance Monday night.
The senior tossed a complete game, and Tupelo Christian held on to beat Pine Grove 7-5 in Game 3 of the Class 1A North finals. The Eagles will now face Resurrection Catholic in the state finals next week in Pearl.
Foster had a thin bullpen backing him up, which meant TCPS needed as many pitches out of him as it could get.
“With my arm hurting a lot, I knew I had to go all seven, so I did,” Foster said.
After allowing a two-run homer to Carson Rowland in the first inning, Foster settled in and posted four-straight zeroes. The Panthers (27-10) touched him for two runs in the sixth to cut the Eagles’ lead to 6-4, and then TCPS (23-10) got a run back in the bottom half on Foster’s RBI single.
Pine Grove cut it to 7-5 in the seventh and loaded the bases, but Foster squashed the rally with a strikeout.
“He’s that kind of player,” TCPS coach Drew Dillard said. “It’s great to have someone who’s athletic when he’s on the mound, especially when you’re playing a team that’s going to put the ball in play. It’s Pine Grove, they make you earn it.”
Foster also excelled at the plate, going 3 for 4 with four RBIs. His two-run single in the first tied the game at 2-2, and he added another RBI single in the second for a 5-2 lead.
Pine Grove starter Cason Jones was pulled in the first inning, and then Cooper Rinehart did the bulk of the mound work after that.
Each team finished with seven hits. Six of Pine Grove’s hits came over the last two innings.
“Those kids are fighters,” Pine Grove coach Matt King said. “I think they’ve set that tone for themselves. Those guys have battled their tails off.”
Big Inning: TCPS scored four runs in the first for a 4-2 lead. After Foster’s two-run single, Cooper Davis had an RBI groundout and Daniel Reddout scored on a balk.
Big Stat: Foster struck out eight and walked four.
Coach Speak: “That’s the great thing about having great players — you let your horses go, especially this time of year.” — Dillard