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11th-ranked Jags batter error-prone VHS

[4/20/04]MADISON As the mistakes mounted, and the errors and zeros piled up on the scoreboard Monday night, Vicksburg High coach Jamie Creel decided to take an optimistic approach.

If his Gators were going to have a clunker of a game like this one, he reasoned, it was better to do it now instead of later in the week when it really counts.

Vicksburg managed only three hits, committed six errors and two balks, and had two runners picked off in a lopsided 11-1 loss to 11th-ranked Madison Central in the regular-season finale. Of Madison’s 11 runs, only three were earned.

The loss could have been discouraging for Vicksburg (17-9), which opens the Class 5A playoffs at home on Thursday night against St. Martin.

But Creel was hopeful the Gators used the extra game, which was rescheduled after a rainout, to get the bad baseball out of their system.

“The score, definitely not,” Creel said of heading into the playoffs with the momentum of Monday’s loss. “But for us to be able play a game, hopefully it may be the right thing to get a couple of kinks and a couple of errors out of the way.

“We definitely didn’t play solid baseball tonight.”

Madison (22-7) used two balks by VHS starter Avery Mathes, a wild pitch and an error to take a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first, then blew the game open in the fourth.

After Tolliver McMullen increased Madison’s lead to 4-0 with a solo home run in the third, Joseph Presley and Wade Broyles started the fourth with back-to-back singles. Drew Hegi tried to bunt them into scoring position, but the throw to first was wild and two runs scored on the play.

McMullen followed with another bunt attempt, and the result was another bad throw that allowed Hegi to score. Nick Hardy added an RBI double and Charles Bush had an RBI single before the Gators could stop the rally, and the Jaguars had a 9-0 lead.

“Some people say they helped us, some people might say we may have caused some of those. Who knows?” Madison coach Gregg Perry said. “We’re excited. We wanted to play well and go into the playoffs on a good note, and I think we did that.”

First pitch in Vicksburg’s best-of-three series with St. Martin is set for 7 p.m. Thursday.

“They killed us. We didn’t give up any earned runs in the first, we started in a 3-0 hole, and we’ve got a chance to get them back right there in the second inning,” Creel said. “And then we made two boo-boos on the bases where we just fell asleep with guys who don’t have very much speed.

“You can’t make those mistakes when you’re heading down the stretch run into the playoffs.”