Price slams door on Neshoba|[04/22/08]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Vicksburg senior strikes out 12 on one day’s rest

Pitching on one day’s rest proved to be no problem for a determined Stanton Price.

The senior left-hander pitched the Vicksburg Gators into the second round of the Class 4A playoffs with his second complete game victory in three days Monday night at Viking Field, beating Neshoba Central 10-3 in a decisive third game.

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The visiting Rockets (18-10) had forced the third game after winning the second game 3-1 behind a three-hitter from Donnie Tabb, one of the top junior prospects in the state.

Price, though, showed why he is one of the top senior prospects in Mississippi by striking out 12. He also went 2-for-2 with two walks in Game 3. In the series, Price went 2-0, allowed only three earned runs and struck out 23 batters. At the plate, he went a combined 7-for-8 in helping the Gators into a second-round series with Oxford.

“If he ain’t player of the year for this county…” Vicksburg coach Jamie Creel said. “He’s the best one I’ve had.”

Neshoba Central coach Brian Jones tipped his cap to Price.

“He’s a heckuva competitor. You just have to tip your hat to him. Two complete games in three days and we only got him out one time in three games. He pretty much took over the series,” Jones said.

Price is not a stranger to pitching on short rest.

“Last year against Tupelo, I did it. Not two complete games, though. I pitched five (innings) the first game and came back with 4 1/3 in the second. I guess I was just caught in the moment. Adrenaline is the biggest thing. I was mainly just going with fastballs because I didn’t have much of a curve.”

Up 7-0 after three innings, Creel strongly considered taking Price out and bringing in either Andrew Brown or Kurt Cooksey.

“I really wanted to take him out in the fourth, but he wouldn’t let me. He refused to come out of the game. After he got out of the fifth, I knew he’d finish it,” Creel said.

The fifth was the only time the Rockets did any damage against Price in the series. After 11 scoreless innings, he finally got tagged for a three-run homer by Dustin Floyd that made it 7-3.

“He got ahead 2-0 and the bad thing was, there was two runners on,” Price said.

Caleb McKee had reached on a leadoff double and Scott Lowrey walked, only the second one Price had issued to that point.

Not to be deterred, Price came back to strike out Daniel Wand to end the inning.

He struck out three more in the sixth to keep the score at 7-3. The Gator offense then provided some insurance runs.

Cooksey singled to right for his third hit of the game to move Trey Prentiss to third. Bowen Woodson followed with a two-run double to left-field to make it 9-3. The hit capped a four-RBI game for Woodson, who also had a two-run homer in the first inning.

Woodson came in after stealing third and drawing a bad throw from the catcher.

Up 10-3, Price looked a bit tired after giving up a single to Phillip Williamson and a walk to Tabb.

“Their fans heckled him a lot over there and they were starting again, but that only made Stanton more determined,” Creel said.

Price struck out the next three batters to end the series. He allowed six hits and walked three in improving to 8-1.

Austin Buchanan, who lost Game 1 Saturday in Philadelphia 7-0, came back to start Game 3 for the Rockets. He was tagged for three runs in the first, the latter two coming off Woodson’s home run to straight-away center, and three more in the second. Blake Hynum had a triple and Price had an RBI double in the frame.

“They got on him early. We’re pretty much Tabb and Austin,” Jones said.

VHS finished with 12 hits. Woodson was 2-for-4 with a double, home run and four RBIs. Ferrington and Hynum also had two hits.

Neshoba 3, VHS 1

Tabb broke Vicksburg’s 14-game win streak behind a 3-hitter. He struck out seven.

The Rockets supported Tabb with single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth. Daniel Wand had an RBI single in the fourth and a solo home run off Brian Fitzgerald in the sixth.