Lady Vikes edge Missy Gators in 8th

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 7, 2001

Keisha Blue of Warren Central is out at third after Vicksburg’s Kelsey Hudson dives to tag the base in the fourth inning.(The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[9/07/01] A couple of weak hits and strong throws helped Warren Central defeat archrival Vicksburg Thursday afternoon at Halls Ferry Park.

WC (10-1, 1-0 Division 6-5A) rallied for two runs in the top of the seventh, tying the game at 5-5 on an RBI fielder’s choice by Cookie Johnson, then took the lead in the top of the eighth on an infield hit by Katie Barnett.

In the bottom of the eighth, Marilyn Landers’ relay throw to home from left fielder Lyn Strawn cut down VHS’ Wendy Womble at the plate to end the game and preserve the 6-5 win.

“We knew they had some speed and we wanted to take that away,” WC coach Lucy Young said. “We planned our practice yesterday around hitting the cutoffs and keeping them from taking extra bases, and it paid off.”

Landers, Ashley Chaney and Haley Martin each had two hits for WC, while Johnson drove in two runs and Keisha Blue went 3-for-4 and scored both the tying run in the seventh and the go-ahead run in the eighth. Barnett was 3-for-5.

VHS’ Brandi Parker tripled, singled and scored two runs and Kelsey Hudson went 2-for-3 with three RBIs, including one on a two-out single in the third inning that gave the Missy Gators (5-5, 0-1) a 4-3 lead. Hudson’s RBI double in the fifth extended the lead to 5-3, and it looked like that might be enough.

After their first two batters reached base in the fourth, the Lady Vikes hit into three straight fielder’s choices and were retired in order in each of the next two innings.

Blue finally broke the hitless streak with a single to start the seventh. Hits by Strawn and Barnett followed, and Blue scored on a sacrifice fly by Chaney to cut it to 5-4.

Landers’ single reloaded the bases with one out, and Johnson followed with a grounder to short. Barnett was forced out at third, but Strawn easily scored the tying run.

“I think nerves played a little bit of a part,” VHS coach Jennifer Wilkerson said of the late rally. “I’m proud of them, though. They played hard. It gave my young players some great experience.”

VHS went quietly in the bottom of the seventh, but the Lady Vikes weren’t as easy to put down in the eighth.

A single by Martin and a VHS error got WC’s first two runners on base, and two straight grounders to short followed. With two outs, Barnett dribbled a ball down the third-base line that none of the Missy Gators could get to. Blue scored from second to put WC ahead, 6-5.

“I just sort of blooped it into the hole. All I heard was Coach Young yelling Run, run,’ ” said Barnett, who was forced out at second moments later.

Martin got the first two VHS batters out on grounders to start the bottom of the eighth, but Womble kept the Missy Gators alive with a two-out double to center.

Emily Mathes followed with a single to left her third hit of the game but Strawn hit Landers with the cutoff just as Womble was rounding third. Landers’ throw home was on the money, and Womble was out by 10 feet.

“I was going to send her no matter what,” Wilkerson said. “What was I supposed to do? With two outs, you don’t take that chance.”

Landers said she wasn’t surprised when Womble headed home.

“I know Vicksburg. They won’t stop for anybody,” she said, adding that defense was the difference. “That’s a good win. It was a close game … They got the same chances we did. We just held them better than they held us.”