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WC drops another Arrow heartbreaker

Clinton’s Laura Leigh Reese slides home safely with the go-ahead run in the eighth inning as Warren Central catcher Katie Barnett tries to block the plate. Clinton won, 3-2, and clinched the Division 4-5A championship. (Melanie Duncan ThortisThe Vicksburg Post)

[3/28/03] For the second time this season, Warren Central and Clinton needed extra innings to decide their Division 4-5A showdown.

And for the second time this season, the Lady Vikes (11-4, 0-2) left disappointed.

Laura Leigh Reese scored on a Brandi Runnels fielder’s choice in the top of the eighth and Warren Central’s Katie Barnett was stranded at third in the bottom of the inning in Clinton’s 3-2 win. The victory gave the Lady Arrows the division championship and forced the Lady Vikes into must-win games next week against Vicksburg High.

The top two teams in the division advance to the state playoffs and Vicksburg (0-1) will play three division games next week, two against rival WC.

“We’re playing Saturday, which is a good thing,” WC coach Lucy Young said. “Hopefully we’ll go over (to Vidalia, La.) and get our game ready for Monday.”

Warren Central could have put itself in the driver’s seat for the division championship with a win, but the Lady Vikes left the bases loaded in the fourth inning, left Barnett stranded in the eighth and missed almost every try at getting a bunt down fair.

Using international rules the final out of the seventh inning is put on second base in the eighth and each team gets three outs to score Clinton took a 3-2 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth.

Barnett advanced to third on a wild pitch with no outs, but winning pitcher Nicole Chisholm struck out Anna Mitchell and Keisha Blue and got Cookie Johnson to ground out to second to end the game.

“In a game against somebody like Clinton, you’re going to look at a one-run game,” Young said. “Everything you do breaks your back and we did that all night.”

Clinton took a 2-0 lead in the third when Karen McCollouch hit a double that was misjudged in the outfield. Chisholm and Kerri Harper each hit infield singles to load the bases, and Reese belted a two-RBI single.

Warren Central battled back in the bottom of the fourth for two runs of its own. Mitchell hit a single and scored on a Lyn Strawn single and Blue scored on a groundout. She got stuck between third and home, but a Clinton throwing error allowed her to score and tie the game 2-2.

Lauren Anderson pitched a complete game in a losing effort. She allowed five hits and struck out seven.

“They have improved so much,” Clinton coach Mike Chambliss said of Warren Central. “It used to be when you looked down your schedule for wins, you could count Warren Central as one, but not anymore. If you don’t come here ready to play, you’re in for it.”