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Different a difference-maker as Vicksburg 14s top 15s

[08/06/01] Wearing a Warren Central cap while all of his teammates sported green Vicksburg caps, Mark Different looked, well, different during Sunday’s 14-15-year-olds’ Governor’s Cup final.

Different was also the difference for the Vicksburg 14s.

A late addition to the 14s roster, Different allowed four hits, no walks, one unearned run and struck out four in seven innings to lead the 14s to a 3-1 win over the Vicksburg 15s and the Governor’s Cup title.

“Our pitchers did good, we just couldn’t bring the bats back. And I guess that was because of Mark,” 15s coach Joe Hendrix said.

Joe Hendrix and Zane Key were effective for the 15s, scattering a combined seven hits and allowing just two earned runs. But the 14s scratched out single runs in the first, second and fourth innings to provide their offense.

Drew Warnock was the 14s’ catalyst in two rallies, going 2-for-3 with two singles and two runs scored.

“We got a couple of lucky little infield hits and manufactured a couple of runs,” said Different, who also went 2-for-2 with a pair of singles.

Rob Quimby’s RBI single gave the 14s a 1-0 lead in the first, and a passed ball on a strikeout allowed Will Mendrop to reach base in the second. He advanced to third on another passed ball and a groundout, and scored on a squeeze bunt by Justin Stokes.

“Pitching and that squeeze bunt,” 14s coach Daniel Butler said when asked what the difference in the game was. “That run right there meant a lot.”

The 14s added an unearned run in the third to make it 3-0 before the 15s answered with an unearned run of their own in the bottom of the inning to cut it to 3-1.

That was all the offense in the game, however, as Different retired 10 of the last 13 batters he faced over the final 3 1/3 innings.

“Fastball and curveball are my only two pitches. I was hitting my spots with the fastball and the curveball,” Different said.

Butler said Different was added to the 14s roster late last week when the team needed a couple of extra players for the tournament. The “ringer” didn’t let Butler down.

“I was excited to have him out here. He did a heckuva job,” Butler said.

For a championship game, the contest was laid back. Many of the players on both sides play high school and summer ball against or with each other, and Butler said the familiarity made the game fun, but also made his job a little harder.

“We picked with players on the field, and a couple of players from their team were trying to pick up signals,” Butler said with a laugh. “I had a lot of fun coaching these guys this summer. It’s pretty cool to finish by winning a tournament.”

After the game, several members of the 14s jokingly hollered to Vicksburg 15s first baseman Justin Boler, who had promised not to “take it easy” on his teammates the day before.

Boler took it in stride.

“I think it’s a little harder, saying the 14-year-olds beat us. But we came out here and had fun, and playing the game of baseball is all about fun,” said Boler, who went 1-for-3 with a single.

7-8-year-olds

G-ville 13, Vicksburg A’s 1

The Vicksburg As’ shot at the 7-8-year-olds’ title title came up short, falling to Greenville in the semifinals. Vicksburg got its run on an RBI single by Justin Pettway that drove in Taylor Brocato, who had been solid for the A’s a day earlier by hitting two home runs.

Earlier in the day, Cameron Cooksey helped the A’s beat the Lump & Walley Ballers, 6-4, with a game-winning two-run homer over the fence.

9-year-olds

Natchez 14, Culkin 9

The Culkin Cyclones fell to the Natchez Braves despite a three-run, over-the-fence home run by Carter Kittrell.

The Braves advanced to the finals with the win, after winning the tie-breaker in a three-way tie.

13-year-olds

Washington County 11, Vicksburg 5

James Jackson went 2-for-3 with an RBI double and three runs scored, and Dan Ivey had a pair of RBI singles, but Vicksburg pitchers surrendered 15 walks in the loss to the 13-year-olds’ runners-up.