Vikings sweep away Hattiesburg|[4/23/05]

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 25, 2005

HATTIESBURG – As Drew Warnock made the final catch of a Hattiesburg fly ball to end the best-of-three series, the skies opened up and rains washed away the Smokie Harrington Field as quickly as Warren Central washed away the Tigers.

Warren Central led the entire way and defeated Hattiesburg 12-5 to end the best-of-three series. The Vikings (19-11) will play either Gulfport or Pascagoula next week in the second round of the Class 5A state playoffs. Hattiesburg ends the season 19-6.

“The only bad thing is we have to wait a week,” WC coach Randy Broome said. “We have to keep the mentality and the focus that we have had. This time of year, as soon as you relax, you get your butt whipped.”

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Hattiesburg, which committed eight errors in a Game 1 loss, made three errors Friday night, and the Vikings’ bats were relentless.

Hattiesburg coach Larry Knight said Game 1 of the series played a big part in the mental state of his team.

“Last night was a game we really should have won,” he said of the 7-6 opening game loss. “It was just one of those deals where we had a lot of mistakes to try and overcome. If you win that first one on the road, it puts you in a much better situation coming back home.”

The Vikings jumped out to an early lead in the first inning Friday, after Tigers’ starter Colin Cargill loaded the bases. Josh Gordon ripped a bases-clearing double as WC went ahead 3-0.

The Tigers came back to tie the score after one inning of play when catcher Josh Wiley brought home Jermaine Jackson and Reggie Lee with a triple. Wiley scored on the play when the throw home skipped past the catcher.

“You’ve got to give credit to Warren Central,” Knight said. “We didn’t really pitch very well tonight. They did their job at the plate. We tried to battle back, and they answered the call.”

WC went ahead for good in the third inning when Eric Douglas singled home Zach Balthrop, and Gordon and Douglas each scored on wild pitches, to make the score 6-3. The Vikings’ first five batters – Warnock, Ben Koestler, Balthrop, Gordon and Douglas – each had two hits to pace the WC offense.

“Errors really killed us,” Lee said. “We came out, maybe a little bit too psyched, and you can’t be too psyched.”

The Vikings scored in every inning but the second and fifth, and proved to be too strong for the Tigers, who are only graduating two starting seniors.

“We’re going to have to be more selective at the plate,” Lee said. “It’s just something we’re going to have to work on for next year.”

Parker White went the distance to earn the victory.

Stringer 3, St. Aloysius 2

St. Aloysius rallied from a 2-0 deficit with two runs in the sixth inning, but Stringer scored in the bottom of the seventh to win their winner’s bracket game in a Class 1A regional.

Andy Wiles had an RBI double for St. Al, and Lambert Culley had an RBI single.

The Flashes were supposed to play the winner of the Bogue Chitto-Salem game later Friday night, but heavy rain forced a postponement. The Flashes will play the winner of that game today at 1 p.m.