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D’

gives Lady Vikes W’ over VHS

Hayley Martin and Marilyn Landers had two hits apiece, but their defense was the difference as Warren Central kept its division title hopes alive with a 10-6 win over archrival Vicksburg.

The Lady Vikes (13-6, 2-1 Division 3-5A) locked up a playoff spot Thursday at Halls Ferry Park by assuring themselves of at least a second-place finish in 3-5A.

LaShanda Williams went 3-for-4 with five RBIs to pace WC’s 14-hit attack. Her two-run double in the first inning got things going. Catcher Heather Garrard added two RBIs on two hits while Lyn Strawn and Landers both had a pair of hits and an RBI.

For VHS (14-6, 3-1), which sewed up a playoff berth with a win over Greenville on Wednesday, Kayla Greenlee had a two-run triple and Viola Howard went 2-for-4 with an RBI that capped a three-run fifth inning to make it 10-5. Emily Mathes went 2-for-3 with a triple and Dana Daigre had two hits, but the WC defense clamped down every time VHS looked as if it would get a rally going.

“We made some plays today that we wouldn’t have made a week ago,” WC coach Lucy Young said. “This year, we really had a goal of going to the state playoffs. We missed not going last year.”

Young said her team’s confidence was up after their performance Saturday, when they overcame deficits of seven and 11 runs to win games in the Clinton Invitational.

“We had a major block lately just getting that third out,” Young said.

That wasn’t a problem for WC Thursday.

After making two errors that helped VHS make it 2-2 in the first, WC played flawless defense until the sixth, when Landers was popped on the chin by a sharp grounder to short. She ended the fifth inning when she scooped up Dayna Nugent’s rip, ran to step on second, then gunned the ball to first for a double play.

In the third, Martin snared a line drive back to her at the mound to start a double play, then made another nice grab to end the inning.

The Missy Gators, who won the first meeting with WC 10-6, needed just three runs to win the 3-5A title. Because of the run differential against division opponents, VHS needed to finish within two runs of WC.

In the seventh, after VHS scored one, second baseman Rebecca Chick backhanded a shot off the bat of Greenlee and stepped on second, then Ashley Chaney snagged a shot for an unassisted putout at first. Williams made a running grab in shallow center field to end it.

“They earned the victory,” VHS coach Josh Harper said. “It’s on their shoulders now. We’re just in a waiting game.”

The only thing in question now is whether the Missy Gators or WC will finish first and earn home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The Lady Vikes can still win the 3-5A championship if they beat Greenville by nine runs on Oct. 10.

Harper said no play was the difference.

“They were in the driver’s seat from the get-go,” he said. “They just woman-handled us.”

St. Al 5, Puckett 3

Amy Walker’s RBI single in the sixth inning gave St. Aloysius (7-3, 6-2 Division 8-1A) a win and Puckett (13-1) its first loss. Kelly Haden had two triples and an RBI and Keiko Booth had an RBI single.