Warren Central claims tournament championship|[03/04/07]

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 4, 2007

For past several years, the Warren Central Lady Vikes only had to wait for their biggest rival to self-destruct defensively, but not anymore.

Saturday night, the Lady Vikes had to come up with some key hits in their final at bat to beat the Vicksburg Missy Gators 2-1 to win the Lady Vikes’ Invitational.

Both teams came into the final without allowing a run in winning a pair of pool games. After four innings, they still hadn’t.

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Finally with the one-hour time limit nearing an end, Vicksburg got a clutch two-out hit from Kaci Flaharty to score pinch-runner Courtney Prentiss for a 1-0 lead. It was the first and only run WC pitcher Tiffany Fuller gave up all day.

The Lady Vikes (5-2) bounced back in the bottom half of the fifth. Shawn Johnson led off with a single to center and Kari Lieberman followed with a hard hit to left. Both runners were moved up a base after a sac bunt by Kirsten Tackett.

Johnson then scored when the Missy Gators traded a run for an out on Fran Brown’s grounder to second base. That brought up WC’s No. 9 hitter in eighth-grader Kaitlyn Patton.

On the first pitch, Patton ripped a single that Vicksburg shortstop Holly Head just missed snagging. Lieberman easily scored for the 2-1 lead. The game was then called one batter later.

&#8220I have no clue what Kristi (Shelby) threw me,” Patton said. &#8220I guess I hit it hard but Holly is a really good shortstop and I thought she might get it.”

First-year WC coach Dana McGiviney was glad to see her team put together three good wins. The Lady Vikes had earlier beaten Mangham. La.. 3-0 and Vidalia, La., 6-0.

&#8220We had great day all around,” McGiviney said. &#8220We got hits and we played good defense all day.”

VHS coach Amanda Yocum, who spent time as an assistant coach at WC, saw plenty to like as well.

&#8220Warren Central is a good team and we just have to hit with them. With Kristi not being an overpowering pitcher, we have to play good defense.” Yocum said.

VHS (5-4) beat St. Aloysius 2-0 in the day’s first game and then pulled out a 1-0 decision over Rayville, La. to reach the final. Shelby tossed shutouts in both games.

Fuller, though, was stronger in the final. She struck out eight, giving her 13 on the day. She did not allow a hit until a Claiborne Bryant single in the fourth.

St. Aloysius went 1-2 on the day, salvaging a win in the fifth place game, beating Mangham 3-1 behind a complete game from Sarah Kerut. The Lady Flashes (3-6) lost to Rayville 3-0. Rayville won the third place game, beating Vidalia 2-1.