Local baseball hits big-time

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2001

[01/02/01] In a county where football is king, it was a couple of baseball teams that attracted the most attention locally and made a splash on the national scene.

In February, Warren Central was ranked in USA Today’s preseason Super 25, ringing in at 20th. Five months later, some future Vikings helped Culkin’s 12-year-old All-Stars finish second in the nation in the Dizzy Dean World Series.

They breezed through the state tournament with a whopping 25 home runs in eight games. They won five games in the national tournament, but fell twice to eventual champion St. Bernard Parish (La.). They lost 14-2 in the July 27 championship game. But they won the hearts of Warren Countians.

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“I didn’t know a little old town like Culkin could come this far,” pitcher Eric Douglas said after the final game.

WC’s baseball team didn’t reach expectations, losing in the first round of the playoffs.

But WC softball surpassed all expectations, finishing the regular season 22-11, then catching fire in the playoffs and finished third in the state.

“I really am in shock,” Lady Vikes coach Lucy Young after her squad won the last two games of a three-game series at Madison Central to advance to the North State championship.

That’s not the only reason softball was in the news.

Two months after Vicksburg High, St. Aloysius and WC started their first season of fast-pitch softball, the Office of Civil Rights in Washington D.C. launched an investigation into possible Title IX violations in the Vicksburg Warren School District. A group of softball parents filed a complaint, charging, among other things, that girls’ and boys’ athletic facilities were not equal, as Title IX requires.

In basketball, former Vicksburg High star Catrina Frierson made national headlines when she sank two free throws with 2.5 seconds left to give No. 3 Louisiana Tech a dramatic 66-65 win over Vanderbilt in the NCAA Tournament.

Vicksburg High’s Keri White won a second straight state championship in the 3,200-meter run and the Missy Gators won the 4×400 relay title. St. Aloysius’ Dorian Williams and the Flashes’ 4×100 relay team won gold medals in 1A four days after St. Al’s tennis team won the 1A state title.

It was a fairly routine year in football Hinds won its sixth state championship in 12 years, Warren Central beat Vicksburg High for the 19th time in 20 meetings and Porters Chapel Academy got another football coach. Bubba Mims took over after second-year coach Jim Sizemore abruptly stepped down hours before the Eagles’ fifth game.