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Lady Vikes break out in 6th, down VHS, 5-1

[03/28/01] Warren Central’s Lauren Anderson and Vicksburg High’s Emily Mathes were locked in a duel for five innings.

Then the Lady Vikes’ bats came alive, breaking open a one-run game to get their first division win, 5-1, Tuesday at WC.

“We’ve got to play all three (division) teams again, so we’ve still got a chance to get to the state playoffs,” said Young, whose team gets a rematch Thursday with perennial powerhouse Clinton, which won the first matchup 1-0. “Thursday, we’ve got to play even better.”

But getting that first division win against their archrival was sweet for the Lady Vikes (6-3, 1-2 in division), said right fielder Marilyn Landers, who reached base all four times and was 2-for-4 with an RBI.

“We weren’t hitting good at first … but then we got our timing down,” she said. “We had our pitching machine set like (Mathes) pitches in practice, so we were ready.”

The Missy Gators (3-6, 0-3) weren’t ready for Anderson, who struck out seven, walked one and gave up just two hits a blooper and a bunt.

WC got four of its nine hits in the sixth inning, after Mathes was drilled in the left knee with a line drive off the bat of Cookie Johnson. That hit scored the go-ahead run in the fifth.

Ashley Chaney ripped a pair of doubles and an RBI and Betsy Bryan went 3-for-3. Lyn Strawn had an RBI single and Johnson had two RBIs for WC, which took advantage of five VHS errors.

VHS coach Josh Harper agreed that Mathes’ injury probably affected her, but that wasn’t an excuse for the loss, he said.

“It took a lot of her balance away, but the defense still should have backed her up,” he said. “We had far too many bobbles.”

Even before Mathes was hit and the score was tied 1-1, Harper didn’t have a good feeling because “we just weren’t hitting the ball,” he said.

“Lauren did a great job,” he said of WC’s eighth-grader. “She hit her spots … she has improved a lot since last year.”

Mathes had allowed just four hits and no earned runs when Hayley Martin opened the sixth by reaching on an error, then scored on Chaney’s double up the third-base line. Strawn followed with a run-scoring single up the middle and Landers followed with an infield RBI single.

“It hurt when I stepped,” said Mathes, whose knee was starting to turn purple and swell just after the game.

But she said Harper never talked with her about coming out “because he knew I wouldn’t,” she said with a smile.

Mathes helped her team start strong. She got a big strikeout in the first inning after WC put runners at first and third. In the second, she got out of the inning after Chaney led off with a double and got to third with no outs. Mathes snagged Strawn’s line-drive comebacker and doubled up Chaney at third.

VHS also scored first after Kelsey Hudson led off the third with a single. After two Anderson strikeouts, a dropped flyball in the infield kept the inning alive. Hudson went to third on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch.

But three VHS errors in the bottom of the inning let WC tie it and two more in the fifth let the Lady Vikes take the lead.

“We were able to take advantage of their mistakes,” Young said. “Overall, I was pleased with our defense. The ball looks a little different under the lights, so that was something they had to get used to. We still need to improve our baserunning.”