Gators keep playoff hopes alive with blowout of Rebs

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 4, 2002

[04/03/02]JACKSON With a little help from rival Warren Central and a six-run fifth inning, the Vicksburg Gators kept their playoff hopes alive with a 12-3 Division 4-5A win over Forest Hill on Tuesday.

Warren Central’s win over Clinton handed the Arrows their third division loss, while Vicksburg (11-14) is 2-4 in the division.

A bevy of scenarios can still play out as the Arrows and Gators fight for the coveted final playoff spot. WC won the division Tuesday night. The Rebels (17-10, 1-5) were virtually eliminated from the playoffs.

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“We need to win our next game,” said Vicksburg coach Jamie Creel of Friday night’s showdown with Warren Central. “I couldn’t tell you who we play Saturday and couldn’t tell you who we play next week. Don’t worry about who we play, let’s play the game to the best of our ability and if we win we win.”

The win was helped by a strong pitching performance from Chris Middleton and the Gators’ ability to capitalize on Rebels’ miscues.

Middleton, the Gators’ No. 1 starter, allowed one unearned run through five innings. He struck out two and scattered four hits. Justin Henry pitched the final two innings in relief.

“He shut us down and I think it’s the same guy that shut Clinton down,” Forest Hill assistant coach Josh Avenmarg said of Middleton. “He’s not overpowering, but he keeps the ball down and is around the plate.”

Forest Hill’s defense, meanwhile, committed six errors and losing pitcher Calvin Triplett walked seven and hit two.

“If we played like this all year long with freshmen on the team I would be impressed,” Avenmarg said.

“These are guys that know the game better than they are playing. We played poorly tonight.”

John Rohrer paced VHS with a single, double and two RBIs, while Henry had a pair of hits, Corey Hudson had an RBI double, Josh McBride had a triple and Ryan Grey had an RBI groundout.

The Gators led 2-0 going into the fifth and scored six runs with two outs. Two walks, two hits, two errors, three walks and two wild pitches led to the Gators’ outburst.