WC blows away Evangel, holds off Ouachita for sweep

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 18, 2002

[03/17/02]MONROE, La. For 41/2 innings Saturday afternoon against Evangel, Warren Central looked like the defending state champions.

For the last 21/2 innings, the Vikings looked more like the Bad News Bears.

Every Viking had at least one hit as they pounded four Evangel pitchers for 17 hits in all, and WC batted around in two different innings while rolling to a 14-7 win.

WC (14-4) struggled in the last three innings, however, as Evangel took advantage of four errors to rally from the brink of the mercy rule for five runs.

“I wish I had the answers. We’ve got to go out there and finish that thing,” said WC coach Randy Broome, whose team turned around to beat Ouachita, 5-3, in its final game of the Tri-State Challenge. “That’s what you want to have, is that killer instinct. And especially on a day like today. The more pitchers you can save, the more chance we have tonight … For five innings, we did that and it showed. That’s got to carry over to the sixth and seventh innings.”

WC’s Tom Corbin went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs, Carl Upton was 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs, Jeff Mitchell hit two doubles and Mark Different had three hits and an RBI.

Joe Hulett had two hits for Evangel (6-7), and Jeff Hulett drove in two runs with a single.

The Vikings jumped on Evangel starter Roger Baker early, scoring five runs with two outs in the top of the first.

After Joey Lieberman hit into a fielder’s choice to put runners at first and second with two outs, Upton doubled into the left-field corner to give the Vikings a 2-0 lead. Corbin followed with a two-run homer to left into a howling 15 mph wind, and WC tacked on another run with an error and an RBI double by Mitchell.

“Our philosophy is hit fastballs,’ and we did that,” said Lieberman, who went 2-for-5 with an RBI double. “If it weren’t for this wind blowing in, we’d have had six or seven bombs today.”

Evangel scored an unearned run in the bottom of the first, but WC increased the lead to 8-1 with three runs in the third and were on the brink of finishing the Eagles early after batting around and scoring five more in the sixth for a 13-2 lead.

Then, all of a sudden, things started to fall apart for the Vikings.

After Joe Hulett led off the bottom of the fifth with a single, Jared Patterson hit a comebacker to Steven McDevitt. McDevitt threw to second to start an apparently easy double play, but Lieberman couldn’t handle his throw.

Hulett was thrown out trying for third, but the next three Evangel hitters singled. Ryan Amend’s hit scored Patterson and cut it to 13-3. After a popout, Jeff Hulett singled to right to drive in two more runs and make it 13-5.

McDevitt came back to strike out Quinton Bell to end the inning, but a walk and three straight errors in the sixth led to two more Evangel runs.

“Just staying in the game and making it a game was a victory in itself,” Evangel coach Romy Cucjen said.

John Morgan Mims, who entered in the sixth inning, retired six of the last seven batters he faced to end any more thoughts of an Evangel comeback.

“You take it for granted when you get a big lead. You’re up by 10 and we relaxed a little bit,” Lieberman said. “We should’ve 10-run-ruled them in the fifth inning. Instead, they made it a ballgame.”

WC 5, Ouachita 3

Zach Balthrop picked up his first varsity win against one of the Tri-State Challenge host teams. The Vikings cranked out 16 hits, but couldn’t string them together, Broome said.

But that didn’t upset him.

“We won … to come out of this 3-1, we’re real excited,” he said.

Chris Hite, Brian Pettway and Carl Upton all had three hits apiece. Hite had a pair of doubles and Upton had an RBI double. Lieberman had a pair of hits, as did John Rice Pettway, who also doubled. Jeff Mitchell had a double and Different had an RBI for WC, which came from 3-2 down with a two-run outburst in the fourth inning.

Balthrop alllowed seven hits and three runs in five innings. Andrew Simmons and Brian Pettway finished off the Lions.

Broome said the tough competition will help get WC ready for “a huge week.”

The Vikings will be at Clinton Tuesday to face their former coach, Sam Temple, in a division game then archrival Vicksburg on Friday.