Gators, Braves ready to tangle in North State|[05/08/08]

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 8, 2008

It’s a long way to Tishomingo, so far in fact, that Vicksburg High coach Jamie Creel decided it was best for his team, if they have to, play a Game 3 in Iuka.

Game 1 of the North State Class 4A series is today at Warren Central’s Viking Field between the Gators (26-7) and the Tishmoningo County Braves (27-6) at 6. Game 2 is set for Brewer Field in Iuka on Friday and a Game 3 would be Saturday in Iuka at 2 p.m.

Vicksburg was left wondering until Tuesday night which team it would face. Tishomingo won its third round series, 2-1, over Lafayette County with a 6-3 win in Game 3. Heavy thunderstorms postponed Game 1 of that series to last Saturday. The Braves won 5-4 but Lafayette won Game 2 Monday night, 6-3, to force a deciding third game.

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The Gators, meanwhile, wrapped up their third round series with New Albany in two straight, smashing the Bulldogs 14-5 in Game 2 in New Albany.

Creel said whoever won the Lafayette-Tishomingo series would be tough.

“Whoever it is, we’ll have to give it our ‘A’ game. Tishomingo gets after it and plays hard. They have the better left-handed pitchers while Lafayette had the better right-handers,” Creel said.

If you go6 p.m. – Tishomingo County (27-6) vs. Vicksburg High (26-7) Admission: $5

With Lafayette out, the Gators should be able to turn loose their running game, keyed by leadoff man Delmon Robinson and Bowen Woodson, each with 20 stolen bases.

Yet the way the Gators have been hitting this postseason, the running game has been an after thought. Senior Stanton Price and juniors Trey Prentiss and Woodson all have hit at least two home runs in the playoffs.

Price has torched the ball, hitting .740 in the playoffs. He is at .489 with 39 RBIs for the season. Woodson (.372, 32 RBIs, 6 HR) has a home run in each of the three preceeding playoff series while Prentiss (.400, 37 RBIs, 5 HR) is coming off a 6-for-6 effort in the New Albany series.

“This just shows how balanced our team is. Everyone is hitting well,” Prentiss said. “We’re at our best when we’re getting a lot of hits and scoring a lot of runs.”

They had 25 runs against New Albany including an 11-1, five-inning romp, last Friday at WC.

TC, however, has the best overall pitching staff the Gators will have seen in the playoffs.

“They have two right-handers and two left-handers and they all throw in the 80s,” Creel said.

Matt Davis, the Braves’ likely game 1 starter, is 8-0 and has won all three of his playoff starts. Sophomore Derek Wright won Game 3 Tuesday night to improve to 8-0.

The Braves’ offense is keyed by right-fielder/pitcher Seth George, who is hitting over .500 this season. Sophomore John Whirley has three playoff home runs and 12 on the season.