Ripley handles South Pontotoc to win 4A North series

SPRINGVILLE – After a dominant win on Saturday night, the Ripley Tigers are headed to Pearl.

Ripley beat the South Pontotoc Cougars 13-2 in Game 2 of their Class 4A North finals series. The win completes a Ripley sweep, making the Tigers North half champions for the first time since 1992.

“It means a lot for our program. It means a lot for our school. It means a lot for our town,” Ripley coach Joel Gafford said. “There’s a lot of people over there who have put a lot into all of this.”

Hunter Kuhl got the scoring started with a two-run home run in the top of the first. He drove in another run in the second on a sacrifice fly, and another run scored on an error later in the play to make it 4-0.

Kuhl ended the night with a team-high four RBIs. Even when Ripley closed out the game to advance to the state championship, the accomplishment didn’t feel real to him.

“I’ve never been a part of something so special and something that actually means something this much as it does to Ripley,” he said. “It’s crazy.”

With two outs in the top of the third, Jack Reid added on with a three-run shot to make it 7-0.

The offensive onslaught followed a Game 1 performance that saw the Tigers score 10 runs.

“When we start with our approach, we caught some really good barrels,” Gafford said. “We lost our approach here and there, but for the most part, when we start with what we practice, we make some live outs.”

Cooper Davis pitched all six innings for the Tigers, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out five and allowing no walks.

Despite the season coming to an end, Cougars coach Jeff Harmon is proud of how his team, which only brought back two starters from last season, battled all year.

“We found ourselves in the North half final, and I wouldn't trade our bunch for anything,” he said.

Ripley will face Sumrall in the state championship series in Pearl.

South Pontotoc ended its season 25-7.

Extra Bases

Big Inning: Hunter Kuhl, Hayden Kuhl and Davis each had RBI hits in a five-run top of the sixth. It put Ripley ahead 13-0.

Big Stat: This was Ripley’s 13th game of the year scoring 10 or more runs.

Coach Speak: “Typical pitching performance by Cooper Davis doing what he always does. We jumped out early, Hunter Kuhl hit that bomb to get us started, and it just kept rolling from there. Ryan Scott made some really outstanding plays third. Just got to keep playing.” – Gafford