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Flashes beat Puckett to set up showdown at Lake

Josh Martin, a courtesy runner for St. Aloysius catcher Charlie Amborn, steals third as Puckett’s Justin Thomas dives to make the catch. (The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[04/13/01] St. Aloysius passed its final test before Saturday’s division-deciding game with a 9-4 thumping of Puckett Thursday at Warren Central.

The Flashes (17-1, 13-0 Division 7-1A), who can win the division at Lake with a victory or a loss of fewer than three runs, battered two pitchers for 10 hits.

Blake Warnock had a single, double and two RBIs, while Charlie Amborn had two singles and two RBIs and Ryan Hearn had three singles and two runs scored.

Aaron George carried a shutout into the sixth inning, but four errors in the sixth and one in the top of the seventh gave Puckett (15-6) four unearned runs.

Flashes’ coach Joe Graves said he was pleased with his team’s effort, but knows Saturday will be tougher.

“We wanted to send a little message to Puckett because we won’t see them again,” said Graves, whose team will be in a different division next year. “We wanted to give them a little going away present.

“Our kids did a good job making them make mistakes.”

George (7-0) went the distance, scattering eight hits and striking out eight. Puckett stranded nine, seven at second or third base.

“I think they were a little snake-bitten,” Graves said.

“Everything they tried to do, they got called out on, or it worked perfect for us.”

RBIs by Amborn and Clay Simmons in the fourth broke the game open, for a 7-0 lead. St. Al could have scored more, but one runner was gunned down trying to score on a passed ball and one runner was out trying to stretch a single into a double.

“We were doing the things that we have been all year long,” Graves said. “We try to steal, hit and run, bunt and cause them problems and our kids did that tonight.”

After Puckett pulled to within 7-2, Warnock belted an RBI double and Amborn hit an RBI single.

Wes McGehee and Henry Taylor combined for the loss, allowing 10 hits and striking out three.

George struck out Terrell Jackson in the bottom of the seventh with a runner on third to end the game.

“They have a good ballclub,” Graves said of Lake, the defending state champion. “They wouldn’t be 19-6 if they didn’t. We have to go in there and dictate what happens. We can’t let their crowd play a part.”