Clinton powers past Missy Gators, 15-6

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 1, 2002

Katie Jenkins (11) of Vicksburg High stretches while trying to corral a line drive as teammate Viola Howard comes in to scoop up the ball during the Missy Gators’ 15-6 loss to Clinton on Monday at Halls Ferry Park. (The Vicksburg Post/Melanie duncan)

[10/01/02]Clinton put on a power display Monday at Halls Ferry Park and muscled its way past Vicksburg High, 15-6.

Clinton first baseman Brooke Bradley hit a two-run home run over the center field fence, pitcher Maranda Anderson hit an inside-the-park grand slam, and left fielder Leslie Hutchinson had a two-run triple as the Lady Arrows (10-13) had six of their 15 hits go for extra bases.

Bradley was 2-for-4 with three RBIs and three runs scored, Anderson drove in five runs, and Hutchinson was 3-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored.

Cherrelle Stamps was 3-for-4 for VHS (4-14), while Heather Shelby had an RBI single and scored a run. Only one of the Missy Gators’ runs was earned, as Clinton committed six errors.

“We scored six runs,” VHS coach Laquitta Smith said when asked if she saw anything positive from her team. “That’s better than 10-running us. They 9-runned us.”

Clinton led 4-1 in the top of the fourth when Bradley came to the plate with a runner on first and one out. She promptly deposited a pitch straight over the center field fence to make it 6-1, and the hit ignited a five-run rally.

Singles by Kris Smith and Shundrell Spann were sandwiched around a flyout, and Hutchinson came through with her triple to blow the game open. Anderson followed with a single to increase the lead to 9-1.

“That kind of jumpstarted us, and it put them down a little bit,” Clinton coach Allen Lunceford said of Bradley’s home run, the eighth she has hit over the fence this season.

The Missy Gators answered back with three runs in the bottom of the fourth to cut it to 9-4. Shelby’s RBI single and an error that allowed two runs to score keyed the rally.

It didn’t last long, though. In the top of the sixth, Clinton loaded the bases on an error and two singles for Anderson.

She drove a ball deep to left field, well past the VHS outfielders. Anderson circled the bases and scored standing up as the relay throw home was off-line. The homer put Clinton ahead 13-4 and ended any thoughts of a Missy Gator comeback.

Each team scored twice in the seventh Clinton on an RBI double by Kris Smith and an RBI single by Hutchinson; VHS with the help of three errors and an RBI fielder’s choice by Kelli Ouzts to provide the final margin.

“She’s got good speed and they happened to not respect her in that sixth spot,” Lunceford said. “I was going to give her a chance (for the homer), and then I was going to stop her. Then I sent her home, and they didn’t handle the cutoff.”

Despite their record, the Missy Gators still have a slim chance to make the playoffs. They will face Warren Central in a makeup game on Thursday, then host division rival Natchez next Tuesday. VHS finishes the season at Brookhaven on Oct. 10.

If the Missy Gators win both division games, it would create a three-way tie that would be broken by a run-differential tiebreaker. Smith didn’t rule out the possibility of making the playoffs, but wasn’t overly optimistic about her team’s chances.

“I’m not trying to be pessimistic. I’m trying to be optimistic,” she said. “I’m looking forward to next year … Hopefully they’ll be a little stronger. They’ll be on weights, and they’ve never been on weights before.”