Vicksburg snares Game 1|[05/09/08]

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 9, 2008

Gators within a win of playing for a state championship

One down. One to go.

The Vicksburg High Gators moved within a victory of reaching the Class 4A state championship series for the first time with a resounding 8-2 victory over Tishomingo County on Thursday night at Warren Central’s Viking Field.

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The best-of-three series shifts to Iuka for Game 2 tonight at 6. A third game, if necessary, will be played on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Iuka.

The Gators (27-7) got another masterful game from left-handed senior ace Stanton Price both on the mound and with the bat to beat Tishomingo County. Price tossed his fourth complete game victory of the postseason while also contributing three hits, the biggest being a game-busting, three-run shot in the fourth inning.

Stanton Price delivers a pitch in the first inning Thursday. (Meredith Spencer * The Vicksburg Post)The home run off previously unbeaten Braves’ starter Matt Davis gave Vicksburg a 6-2 cushion. Price cruised afterward, retiring nine of the 11 batters remaining to finish the contest.

Despite throwing just 87 pitches and looking to be in control throughout, Price said he had to battle.

“My strength is still not there. I just had to rely on my fundamentals. They were pretty aggressive up there. I didn’t have to go too many counts, because they swung it somewhere,” Price said.

Tishomingo coach Jerry Long said Price had one big advantage over his ace, Davis, who had won his three previous series openers.

“Price stayed ahead of our hitters and Davis fell behind theirs. That was the difference,” Long said.

“Our scouting came through,” Price said. He had two singles going the other way to left field in his first two at-bats against Davis. Then in the fourth, he jumped on the first pitch and pulled it over the blue fence in right, his ninth home run of the season and third in the playoffs.

“He’s a heckuva of a hitter,” Long said of Price.

“I thought both pitchers battled,” VHS coach Jamie Creel said. “Stanton didn’t have his ‘A’ stuff, but he only threw 87 pitches. Davis, though, walked the leadoff guy several times and that hurt him.”

‘(Stanton) Price stayed ahead of our hitters and (Matt) Davis fell behind theirs. That was the difference.’JERRY LONGTISHOMINGO HEAD COACHDown 1-0 in the bottom of the second, the Gators quickly tied the score when Brian Fitzgerald singled, stole second and then scored on Blake Hynum’s single to right. Ferrington then launched the first pitch he saw over the left-center field fence.

“Fastball down the middle,” Ferrington said of the pitch which resulted in a two-run home run and a 3-1 Gator lead.

Tishomingo got its only earned run against Price in the third when Tyler Pritchard walked and then scored on Jon Whirley’s two-out double to make it 3-2.

In the fourth, Davis walked his first two batters. After a groundout and a popout, he faced Price with a base open. Price’s three-run shot upped the lead to 6-2.

“Sometimes you want to make a statement, and see if your best guy can get our best guy,” Creel said. “But I thought Ryan Ferrington got us two big clutch hits with the home run and the double. He knows how to play.”

Ferrington’s double came in the sixth when he laced another shot to left-center to score Hynum, who had led off with a single. After a sacrifice, Ferrington scored to make it 8-2 after an RBI grounder from pinch-hitter Blake Tarnabine.

Vicksburg High’s Delmon Robinson dives safely into third base against Tishomingo County during Thursday’s Class 4A playoff game at Viking Field. (Meredith Spencer * The Vicksburg Post)Price scattered five hits and walked only one in improving to 10-1 this season. He’s 4-0 in the playoffs with one save.

“I didn’t think we played as well as we could. We know we have to play better up there,” Price said.

“We were a little too skittish on defense and we’ll need to play better,” Creel added.

Davis dropped to 8-1 after allowing eight runs off nine hits. He struck out six and walked four.

Pritchard led TC’s offense with two hits, including a leadoff double in the first, and scored a run.

Ferrington finished with two extra base hits, three RBIs and three runs scored.