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Northwest Rankin knocks off Gators

Steven Randle of Vicksburg High leaps high for the ball as Northwest Rankin’s Joel Mangrum (23) gets ready to slide into second. Second baseman Josh McBride backed up the play and tagged the runner out when he went past the bag. The Cougars won, 9-3, handing the Gators their second straight loss. (The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[03/12/01] Vicksburg High’s players had to keep their cleats on longer than they thought before getting on their dancing shoes.

Coach Jamie Creel sent his Gators straight to Showers Field for some running immediately after their 9-3 loss to Northwest Rankin Saturday at Bazinsky Field.

After the game ended at 3:30 p.m., Creel said he was going to run his players until 5. Several of them seemed distracted, possibly because of VHS’ prom Saturday night, he said.

“I know I’m going to make some people mad at me (for keeping the players late), but we’re not going to play any more games like this,” Creel said. “Our guys have to get respect for the game. We’ve got to get a better attitude.

“You can’t always hit the ball, but you can always hustle.”

For the second straight game, the Gators (6-2) were anemic offensively and unstable defensively. They had five hits, but only three left the infield, and committed three errors.

Powered by Joe Richardson’s two-run homer, the Cougars (8-1) jumped up 7-0 before VHS got on the board. He went 2-for-3 and Matt Page went 2-for-4 with two RBIs as Northwest Rankin cranked out 10 hits.

Josh McBride went 2-for-3 for VHS while Paul Gorney doubled and J.J. Brown and Ryan Grey had RBIs.

Justin Henry (0-1) took the loss, striking out two and walking two while getting roughed up for seven runs on seven hits in 22/3 innings.

After RBI singles by Adam Love, Page and Phillip Crain, VHS’ Mitchell Beauman came in and coaxed a double play to end the third. He finished with two strikeouts, two walks and gave up three hits.

Tyler Brown (2-0) got the win after fanning five, walking two and allowing just three hits in six innings.

The Gators took advantage of two errors and a balk to pull within 7-3 in the third inning. McBride singled, then stole second and went to third on an overthrow. Brown’s infield single scored McBride. Henry, who reached on a walk, later scored on a balk and Brown came in on Grey’s groundout.

“We hit well at times, but we almost let it get away,” said Cougars coach Jeff McClaskey, a former Porters Chapel Academy coach. “They did a great job of getting back in it.”

Creel, whose team was no-hit at Warren Central Tuesday, wasn’t impressed.

“We’ve been knocked down twice,” said Creel, whose squad plays Kosciusko Monday at 9 a.m. in the first round of the Madison Central tournament. “Now we’ve got to fight back. There’s no doubt, this is the turning point of our season.”

Magee 10, St. Al 6

Defensive mistakes finally caught up to the St. Aloysius Flashes Saturday at Magee.

Clay Simmons threw six strong innings, allowing seven hits and no walks, but six St. Al (6-1) errors led to eight unearned runs and win for Magee (7-3).

“(Simmons) did a good job, we just had routine plays and threw the ball away,” St. Al coach Joe Graves said. “It was a disappointing ballgame, especially to lose to a team that we shouldn’t have lost to.”

St. Al will play in the Capital Classic, beginning Monday at 11 a.m. against Jim Hill at Lakeland Field.