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WC puts 4th straight division title in the bag

[04/04/01] Warren Central wrapped up its fourth straight division championship, but two of its star players were wrapped up after the game.

The Vikings (23-1, 5-0 Division 3-5A) overcame a slow start to win their 13th in a row, 10-0 over Gentry, but top hitter Brian Pettway and starting shortstop Joey Lieberman had to leave the game early with injuries.

Carl Upton, who pitched the final four innings of the three-hitter, led off the fourth with a home run to left field to get things rolling for WC, which led 1-0 going into the inning. Kyle Simmons, who went 3-for-3 with a double, and Jeremy Ferguson added run-scoring singles and Taylor Tankersley lofted a two-RBI triple to center as WC built a 6-0 advantage. Kevin Coker, who went 2-for-3, drove in a run in the fifth, and Upton smacked a two-run single in the sixth to end it on the 10-run mercy rule.

Michael Spurlock took the loss, allowing 14 hits. He gave up just three in the first three innings.

“He’s not your average high-school pitcher,” WC coach Sam Temple said of the Ole Miss football signee.

Pettway (5-1) got the win but came out after one inning with a lower ankle sprain after a collision with Gentry’s Hannibal Simpson.

“I was going for a fly ball, he hit me and I turned my ankle,” Pettway said. “I tried my best to come back. I went down to throw in the pen … and it just wasn’t happening.”

Temple was unsure when Pettway would return.

“We’re just going to ice it, treat him and hope he’s OK,” Temple said.

Lieberman’s injury was more bizarre. A pregame heat treatment caused a huge blister on his shoulder that forced him to come out.

“He was having some tenderness in his shoulder” before the game, Temple said. But the heat pack apparently got too hot.

WC pitchers struck out 10 and walked none. Spurlock’s double off Pettway was the only extra-base hit for the Rams (4-8, 2-3).

“They know now that if they cut down on errors, they can compete at a higher level,” Gentry coach Chad Anthony said. “It’s hard to say anything positive about a 10-0 loss.”

Temple was pleased with the way his players hit the ball, especially Upton and Simmons, both of whom had been slumping, and Tom Corbin, who went 2-for-3 in just his second start. Temple just wants them to start hitting sooner.

“We were a little flat,” he said. “Every day we have to show up. The good thing is, we got that mentality before the game was over.”