WC, Upton handcuff W. Monroe before rain

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 18, 2002

[03/18/02]WEST MONROE, La. After a humbling loss on Thursday that was tough to swallow, Warren Central’s win over West Monroe on Friday went down a lot easier.

The rain that ended the game early didn’t help wash away the bittersweet taste, though.

Brian Pettway homered, John Morgan Mims had an RBI double, and Carl Upton allowed only an infield single and two walks in five innings as the Vikings (12-4) won, 2-0.

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The game was called because of lightning and rain in the top of the sixth inning, leaving players and coaches on both sides with a feeling of unfinished business.

“It was a really good game, but I wish it had never rained. I wanted to finish the whole game,” Upton said.

West Monroe pitcher Ben Soignier (3-1) took his first loss of the season, but turned in a solid performance. He scattered four hits and walked none in five innings, but the Vikings took advantage of his few mistakes.

In the top of the first, Pettway jumped on a first-pitch fastball and drove it over the right-center field fence to give WC a 1-0 lead. In the third, Chris Hite reached base with a one-out single and Mims followed with a double off the wall in left center. Hite scored from first, sliding in just ahead of a strong relay throw to make it 2-0.

“Those two big hits put runs on the board, but other than that, (Soignier) pitched well,” West Monroe coach Jeff Schexnaider said.

West Monroe (9-4) hit a few balls hard off of Upton, but kept hitting them right at WC’s fielders. The Rebels’ only hit came in the fourth inning, when Soignier led off with a soft line drive to deep short that Pettway dove for and just missed.

WC shortstop Joey Lieberman fielded it and made a strong throw to first, but it wasn’t in time to get Soignier. The Vikings quickly erased Soignier with a 4-6-3 double play, however, one of two twin killings they turned in the game.

“Everybody backed me up. We worked as a team,” Upton said.

Pettway led off the sixth for WC and had worked the count to 3-and-1 when a lightning bolt shot from the sky close to the stadium and made him drop his bat. Umpires halted play, and Pettway was hesitant to even pick up his bat as the teams scurried off the field.

“It was a big strike of lightning. I don’t like hitting in lightning,” Pettway said with a smile.

WC’s players ran out to help West Monroe’s players cover the infield with a tarp as the rain started. The rain came and went for 45 minutes, but the lightning was steady.

“We were looking forward to finishing it, especially when you’re down,” Schexnaider said. “You want to get back out there.”