WC takes down Tupelo, ‘Toppers

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 26, 2001

Kevin Coker of Warren Central gives a high-five to winning pitcher Brian Pettway. (The Vicksburg Post/MARK THORNTON)

[02/26/01] PEARL Warren Central’s lack of hard hits actually played in the Vikings’ favor Saturday morning.

With wind whipping from the south at near 30 miles per hour the whole game, WC managed just five hits, but still took down nemesis Tupelo, 7-4, in the Mid-Mississippi Classic at Pearl.

The third-ranked Vikings (7-0) got two RBI singles by Kevin Coker and three singles and an RBI by Brian Pettway to slide by the sixth-ranked Golden Wave (3-2).

Tupelo hit several hard line drives, but the wind played in WC’s favor, holding most of the liners up for the waiting outfielders.

“This was a very tough day to play,” WC coach Sam Temple said.

The Vikings had just five hits against two Tupelo pitchers, but tied the game at 1 in the second inning, then took the lead for good in the third.

Kyle Simmons led off the bottom of the third by reaching on an error, followed by a Chris Hite walk, then an RBI single by Coker. Pettway followed with an RBI single to score Hite. Brent Towne’s fielder’s choice scored Chase Towne, who was running for Coker, for the 4-1 lead.

“Year after year, (Coker) is just a tremendous ballplayer,” Temple said of his senior catcher, who missed winter workouts while playing basketball. “He does a lot of things right mechanically, but the biggest thing is the kid has got so much heart and so much guts. To get him out at the plate, you physically have to beat him.”

Coker’s two-out RBI single in the bottom of the fourth upped the Vikings’ lead to 4-1. WC scored one each in the fifth and sixth and took advantage of an uncharacteristically sloppy Tupelo defense.

The Golden Wave committed four errors.

“We are very inexperienced this year,” Tupelo coach Larry Harmon said. “We lost eight starters from last year and it’s going to take us a while to jell. The pitching is there, but we’re not playing good defense.”

Steven Dew pitched four innings and took the loss, while Pettway (2-0) got the win, allowing six hits and giving up two runs.

Taylor Tankersley, who has not beaten Tupelo in his high school career, pitched the seventh and gave up a pair of runs before getting Will Kline to strike out to end the game.

Warren Central’s defense had another solid day, stranding 11 Tupelo runners and ending two bases-loaded rallies. In the third, Brent Towne took a hard ground ball off his chest before recovering to just nip Kyle Mills at first. One inning later, John Morgan Mims made a sprawling catch in right field to leave the bases loaded again.

“John Morgan made a great play in the outfield and we made the sound plays while they kicked the ball around,” Temple said. “One of the big-time plays was Brent Towne taking a shot off his chest and throwing the guy out at first. Those are the kinds of plays our defense has been making all year long.”

WC 13, Houston 1

Joey Lieberman and Mims each hit home runs to pace the Vikings to a blowout of the Class 4A Hilltoppers.

Mims’ opposite field blast sparked the Vikings’ 11-hit attack. Lieberman also had a double and three RBIs, while Pettway had three hits and two RBIs. Carl Upton belted a single, double and two RBIs and Tankersley had an RBI triple.

Kyle Simmons (2-0) allowed just three hits in four innings and struck out seven. Andrew Simmons pitched the fifth before the game was called because of the 10-run mercy rule.

The Vikings will play at Forest Hill on Tuesday at 7 p.m.