Missy Gators earn playoff spot|[03/30/07]

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 30, 2007

There’s no public address system at Bazinsky Park. If there were, it might have been appropriate to play the theme from &#8220The Benny Hill Show” while Vicksburg High was running the bases Thursday.

The Missy Gators used a combination of savvy baserunning and less-than-savvy fielding by Greenville-Weston to open a big early lead, then cruised to a 9-2 win.

VHS (6-9, 2-1 Division 3-5A) scored nine runs on only six hits in the first four innings. Six Greenville errors, seven walks, three stolen bases and four wild pitches or passed balls helped it along.

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&#8220We work on baserunning every day in practice,” said VHS coach Amanda Yocum, whose team clinched a playoff berth with the win. &#8220We’re trying to work more on them thinking for themselves instead of having a coach tell them when to go, and that was something we did well tonight.”

One bizarre sequence in the second inning summed up the game and blew it open. Already leading 1-0 thanks to Kaci Flaherty’s RBI single in the first, Vicksburg loaded the bases with one out in its next at-bat. Greenville catcher Camissa Jackson threw to third in an attempt to pick off Vicksburg’s Savannah Pritchard, but the ball went into left field.

Pritchard scored as LaDonna Watson scooped up the ball in left field and made a wild, high throw to the plate. The second error allowed another run to score and Courtney Prentiss to move up to third.

As Greenville’s infielders lollygagged after the ball, Prentiss scooted home for a third run and a 4-0 lead.

Holly Head, who was batting when the chaos erupted, eventually walked and scored on Claire Ray’s double to make it 5-0. The Missy Gators added one more run in the third and three unearned runs in the fourth to stretch the lead to 9-0 before putting it on cruise control.

Pitcher Kristi Shelby allowed five walks, but only three hits to keep Greenville (2-5, 0-2) in check. Shelby struck out nine and took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, when she gave up back-to-back singles to Shameka Jackson and Breanna Jones, two walks and two unearned runs.

&#8220I was just not on my game,” said Shelby, who also had an RBI single and scored a run. &#8220I had a lot of walks.”