Russum outduels WC’s Tankersley in All-Star rematch

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 11, 2001

[06/11/01] HATTIESBURG Cliff Russum got the best of Warren Central in a game that didn’t count for anything.

The University of Southern Mississippi signee outdueled Warren Central’s Taylor Tankersley for three innings en route to the South’s 7-5 win over the North at Pete Taylor Park Saturday night.

The Vikings, led by North coach Sam Temple, beat Hattiesburg for the Class 5A state title last month.

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Russum allowed just one hit, to Madison Central’s Mark Grogan, and struck out five to earn South MVP. Tankersley, who signed with Alabama, scattered five hits over three innings and allowed one run on a single by Nathan Sanders of Terry.

Russum got the win, while Tankersley suffered the loss.

“I was really out here having fun,” Russum said. “All week it’s been about having fun. Early I struggled with my location, but the defense backed me up.”

Russum, who pitched the deciding game in Warren Central’s state championship series, said facing some Vikings this time around was a lot different. Tankersley dribbled a groundout to Russum the only time the two faced each other.

“I guess in state there is a lot more pressure,” Russum said.

Offensively, the South did most of its damage against Mac Godwin of Tupelo. Godwin allowed five runs in the top of the fourth inning, highlighted by a three-RBI double by Sanduan Dubose of Meridian as the South took a 6-0 lead.

The North finally broke through against Tony Sipp of Moss Point in the fourth. Jereme Milons of Starkville scored from second on an infield single by Bart Smith of Oxford. The North added a run in the bottom of the fifth on a Milons single to score Brett Byrd of Madison. Godwin got the North closer in the sixth with a two-RBI double which scored WC’s Brent Towne and Gentry’s Michael Spurlock.

Towne singled in his first at-bat, but did not reach base again.

“It was great to be here with these guys,” Towne said. “This was not just a game … we got to spend time here getting to know people.

Bo Bradberry of Madison kept the North in the game. He retired five of the last six batters he faced.

Trailing 7-5, the North loaded the bases in the eighth inning and had runners on first and second in the bottom of the ninth, but Oak Grove’s Brian Page got the save.

WC’s Kevin Coker returned from a broken middle finger on his throwing hand to catch Tankersley for three innings. He did not get to bat.

Russum earned South Most Valuable Player honors, while Milons, whose brother Freddie is a standout football player at Alabama, was North MVP. He had two singles, scored two runs and had an RBI, but struck out with the bases loaded with two outs in the bottom of the eighth.

Dubose was selected best offensive player and Mississippi State signee Craig Tatum of Hattiesburg was defensive player of the game.

Chamar McDonald of Madison Central was a no-show for the North. The fifth-round draft pick of the Kansas City Royals signed with the major league club on Saturday.