Gators snap slump in division opener|Prep baseball

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 25, 2009

PEARL — With one swing, and a dozen or so pitches, Bowen Woodson erased a night’s worth of frustration for himself and a week’s worth for his teammates.

Woodson singled in the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth inning, then came on in relief in the bottom half and worked his way out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam to preserve a 7-5 Vicksburg win over Pearl on Tuesday.

Woodson went 0-for-4 over the first seven innings, struck out looking three times, and also committed an error that led to a run. His heroics in the eighth allowed Vicksburg (1-3, 1-0 Division 3-4A) to snap a three-game losing streak. All three losses came in its opponents’ final at-bat, and Tuesday’s game was the second that went to extra innings.

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“When you’re struggling, it’s nice to turn it around personally. But the biggest thing is turning it around and winning the game,” said Woodson.

Brian Fitzgerald continued his hot hitting for the Gators, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs. He also scattered four hits and struck out five in six strong innings on the mound. At the plate, Fitzgerald is 8-for-14 with seven RBIs in the Gators’ first four games.

“His swing plane is going to put him on balls every time he’s up. He’s not going to hit for power, but he’s got a great stroke,” Vicksburg coach Jamie Creel said.

Tyler Temple and Blake Hynum also had two hits and an RBI each for VHS. Tanner Phillips was 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs for Pearl (2-4, 0-1), which needed a rally to get it into extra innings.

Hynum’s RBI triple, and an RBI single by Temple in the top of the sixth put Vicksburg ahead 4-2. Pearl put two on with two out in the bottom of the inning, though, and tied it when Phillips hit a sharp grounder up the middle that caromed off of Fitzgerald’s ankle and into the hole between first and second base. Both runners scored to tie the game. After both teams stranded a pair of runners in the seventh inning, Vicksburg broke it open with three two-out runs in the eighth. Ryan Ferrington singled, Trey Prentiss was walked intentionally, and Woodson broke out of his funk with an RBI single to left to break the tie.


Contact Ernest Bowker at