Vicksburg takes down No. 12 Northwest Rankin, 10-8

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 7, 2003

[4/6/03]Vicksburg High followed up its Mayor’s Trophy win over Warren Central on Thursday with an even bigger one on Saturday.

The Gators scored four runs in each of the first and second innings to beat Northwest Rankin (22-2), a team that is ranked 12th in America as chosen by USA Today.

“We came out swinging the bats really well today,” said VHS coach Jamie Creel, whose team had 13 hits and knocked out starting pitcer Zach Welch after only 1 2/3 innings. “This gives us a really big boost heading into Tuesday.”

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The Gators (14-6, 7-1 division) will play at Clinton on Tuesday at 7 p.m. with the division championship on the line. The winner will host a first-round playoff series against the Division 2-5A runnerup from the Northeast part of the state.

Justin Henry and Paul Gorney each had a pair of singles, a double and four RBIs, while Josh McBride had a single, double and an RBI and Steven Price had a single, double and an RBI.

Matt Middleton and McBride started the game with singles, and both scored on Henry’s single for a 2-0 lead. Gorney belted a double to score Henry, and then scored on a Price groundout for a 4-0 lead.

Northwest added a run in the bottom of the first, but the Gators took control of the game with four more in the second inning.

A catcher’s interference call, followed by walks to Sean McGowan and Middleton as the Gators loaded the bases.

McBride had an RBI single, then Henry hit an RBI double and Gorney ended the scoring barrage with a two-RBI single for an 8-1 Gators’ lead. The Gators added one in the third after the Cougars scored once in the second.

Northwest Rankin battled back again with three runs in the third and two in the fifth to pull to within two, 9-7.

Henry replaced winning pitcher Justin Boler in the fifth and allowed a run on one hit the rest of the way to get the save.

The Gators scored one more run in the sixth for a 10-7 lead and Northwest scored its final run in the bottom of the sixth.

Henry pitched a perfect seventh inning to end the game.

The win was the Gators’ 10th in their last 11 games.

“We made some great defensive plays today,” Creel said. “I’m real proud of the kids.”