Vicksburg hammers Starkville

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 18, 2003

[4/18/03]STARKVILLE With the way Vicksburg High played on Thursday, you would have never thought the Gators made a three-hour bus trip to Starkville for the opening round of the Class 5A state playoffs. And they showed no signs of it in the game that did not last as long as the trip.

The Gators (18-7) took advantage of costly Starkville miscues and used timely hits in a 23-3 shellacking of the Yellowjackets (20-9) that was shortened by the mercy rule. VHS leads the best-of-three series, 1-0, with game two scheduled to start tonight at 6:45 at Bazinsky Field.

“We came out swinging,” said VHS coach Jamie Creel. “They made mistakes that we took advantage of. We show signs of hitting the ball sometimes.”

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The Gators rode the bats of seniors Justin Henry and Paul Gorney en route to the victory. Gorney went 4-for-4, including a two-run homer, and had six RBIs while Henry went 2-for-2 with a triple, double, and three RBIs.

“We have a lot of character on this team and we only have four seniors on this team,” Creel said. “Justin and Paul showed their leadership today.”

The Gators had 11 total hits while Justin Boler limited the Yellowjackets to seven hits in his complete-game performance.

The Gators took an early 3-0 lead with an RBI double by Henry, an RBI single by Gorney and an RBI double by Boler in the first inning.

The Gators added two more runs in the second inning, but it was a total collapse by the Yellowjackets in the third inning that blew the game wide open.

The Jackets walked six batters, who all later crossed the plate, and made countless mistakes in the inning.

The Jackets also got the benefit of a call. Josh McBride ripped a line drive down the third-base line. One umpire called it fair and the other called it foul. Initially, they ruled the ball fair, which would have scored two runs for the Gators, but they later reversed the call. McBride eventually walked.

“We had the controversial call, but if we can’t overcome adversity, we don’t need to be in the playoffs,” Creel said, noting the Gators had a five-game losing skid during the season.

With two outs, Gorney popped up behind home plate and there was a miscommunication between Starkville’s catcher and pitcher, and the ball fell to the ground. On the next pitch, Gorney singled to center to score Ben Shelton and McBride to give the Gators an 8-2 lead.

Rob Quimby capped the inning with a double that scored Gorney, Steven Price and Boler to make it a 12-2 at the end of the third.

In the fourth inning, Gorney blasted a two-run shot over the right-field fence to up the lead to 15-2, and the Gators added eight runs in the fifth to complete the rout.

Heath Daigre had two RBI singles in the fifth, and Jordan Henry had one.