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Lady Vikes pulverize St. Joseph, 12-0

Warren Central’s Carla Latham looks to first base after tagging out Madison St. Joseph’s Amanda Mixon on Tuesday.(Brian Loden The Vicksburg Post)

[8/11/04]Warren Central is turning the notion of slow-pitch softball as an offensive game on its ear.

Tiffany Fuller went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs, Lauren Anderson tripled and drove in two runs, and pitcher Saleda Montgomery scattered four hits in five innings as WC rolled to its second straight shutout win, 12-0 over Madison-St. Joseph, Tuesday evening at Lady Vike Field.

The Lady Vikes have scored 26 runs in their first two games, against Ridgeland and St. Joe, but have been winning with pitching and defense. WC hasn’t committed an error or allowed a run in either game.

“I just told (Montgomery) to focus on that glove and lay it across there. If they hit it, that’s what these other folks are out here for,” WC coach Lucy Young said. “What we don’t want is walks. There’s no defense against that.”

Montgomery has been a big part of WC’s early success. While most slow-pitch pitchers are little more than cannon fodder for eager hitters, Montgomery has been dominant.

In 10 innings of work, she has allowed just nine hits and no runs. St. Joe only hit four balls out of the infield, and loaded the bases one time, in the top of the third.

Montgomery induced a fielder’s choice from St. Joe’s Elisabeth Geimer to end the threat, and the Lady Bruins didn’t get a runner past first base again.

“She had a good arch on the ball,” Young said. “It looked like, whether intentionally or not, like she was moving it around a little bit. She threw a strike on one corner, then a strike on the other corner. She just did real well focusing on her pitching.”

Montgomery, a senior who is in her first year as a starter, insisted she isn’t unleashing any long-lost pitching secrets on unwary batters.

“I’m just listening to my coach and trying to do the best I can,” Montgomery said. “I’m just trying to get everybody to swing, I guess. Just concentration and rhythm. You’ve got to get into a zone and do what you can do.”

Montgomery and the Lady Vikes have also been helped by a solid group of young players who are quickly making their mark.

Fuller, WC’s second batter of the game, lined a shot down the left field line and circled the bases to put the Lady Vikes ahead 1-0. In the second, she had an RBI single as part of a five-run rally that gave WC an 8-0 lead and blew the game open.

Senior Brittany Fuller, Tiffany’s older sister, also had an RBI single in the second inning. It was one of four WC hits during the rally.

Freshman shortstop Shawnderris Johnson reached base twice and scored two runs, and handled four chances in the field. Eighth-grade second baseman Candace Blazier was 2-for-3 with an RBI single and handled five chances.

“I think these younger ones, playing alongside the older, experienced players is making them pick their game up,” Young said. “They want to do good, and they want to be out there, and there’s a bunch of girls waiting over here to take their place if they don’t perform well.”