Vicksburg falls in playoff warmup|[04/17/07]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Four Brandon pitchers combined on a two-hit 5-0 shutout Monday night over Vicksburg in the final game before the Class 5A playoffs begin.

For Vicksburg coach Jamie Creel, the positive thing from the loss was seeing some quality pitching which could help in preparing for the start of Thursday’s playoff series with Tupelo.

&#8220That’s what I wanted to see and they threw some good ones at us. Brandon has as good a pitching staff as we’ll see. The right-hander they brought in threw hard,” Creel said.

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That would be Josh Varner, a Meridian Community College signee who hit 93 mph on at least one radar gun.

&#8220Alabama was here to see him,” Brandon coach Neill Bartling said of Varner. &#8220What we wanted was for each of our top three guys to throw between 25 to 30 pitches each. It worked out, because they all threw two innings apiece and then our closer worked the seventh.

&#8220This was our 25th win of the season, but it means nothing because we’re now trying to figure out how to win eight more,” Bartling said.

Brandon (25-5) will host either Gulfport or Harrison Central in a first round 5A series on Thursday.

Vicksburg’s best shot to score actually came on against Varner in the fifth inning. Bowen Woodson drew a one-out walk and then tried to score on Tanner Woodson’s two-out hit to right field. But a good relay throw to the plate caught him for the third out.

Vicksburg (17-11) got a complete game from seldom-used starter Judd Mims. He allowed just four hits and only two of Brandon’s five runs were earned.

&#8220I was hoping to get just two innings from him and he ended up throwing a gem. He kept them off-balance. We didn’t need to throw any of our top guys because after a game Friday and two on Saturday, they had gotten their work in,” Creel said.

Brandon got its first two runs in the fourth after loading the bases on two hits and a walk. A hit batsman and a bases-loaded walk scored the runs.

Two Gator errors and an RBI hit by Tyler White added two more runs for a 4-0 lead. Jason Hicks slugged a solo home run in the seventh to conclude the scoring.

Shea Snowden went the first two innings, allowing only one hit and striking out two. White went the next two, striking out three, and earned the win.