Vikings aim to tame the Tigers|[4/21/05]

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 21, 2005

Neither Randy Broome nor his Warren Central players expect an another easy romp like the last time they met Hattiesburg on the diamond.

Last year in a regular season meeting, the Vikings whipped the Tigers 18-1. Tonight at 6, the two schools meet again, this time in the first game of the Class 5A state playoffs at Viking Field.

The best of three series resumes Friday with game two at historic Smokie Harrington Park in Hattiesburg. A third game, if necessary, would be played Saturday at Viking Field.

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Broome’s Vikings (17-11) have been a competitive but up-and-down club this season. Currently, they are in a upswing having won three in a row, including an 8-2 win over playoff-bound Vicksburg and a 6-4 win Monday against 4A division champ Callaway.

“We’ve got a little confidence now having won three straight and we’re excited about getting homefield for a first round series with Hattiesburg,” said Broome, who was a Viking assistant in 2001 when WC beat Hattiesburg for the state championship.

But they will be facing a different Tiger team than the one they saw last year. Hattiesburg will take a 19-4 record into the series as the division runner-up behind two-time defending state champion Oak Grove.

“They were a really young team last year but we know they’ll be a lot stronger this time. They have a good record,” Viking third baseman Zach Balthrop said. “We’ve got some confidence but we also know this is do or die time for us.”

Hattiesburg was 8-19 last year, its first losing season in 16 years under coach Larry Knight. WC beat Hattiesburg for the Class 5A title in 2001.

“They have two pretty good guys in the rotation who are in the mid-80s. And they have an under-shooter who had 1-hitter against Picayune that clinched the playoff bid,” Broome said.

Collin Cargill lifted the Tigers past the Maroon Tide for a key 2-0 win in Hattiesburg. He got good defensive help from third baseman Chase Herrin.

The Vikings will counter with a balanced lineup that has some pop. WC had four extra base hits against Callaway including a solo homer by Ryan Grey.

Broome says he’ll start either Drew Warnock or Parker White on the mound in game one.

“Don’t know which one right now,” Broome said. “I’m glad that both Zach and Nick Carson pitched well against Callaway. We’ll need both of those guys when it comes to relief time.”