Flashes find rough going ahead|Prep baseball

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 30, 2009

According to the schedule, St. Aloysius won’t start the playoffs for another three weeks. Until then, it’s just going to feel like the postseason.

A two-game home-and-home series with Stringer will decide the Division 7-1A championship on Tuesday and Friday, and a home game with Class 5A power Clinton awaits in the regular-season finale on April 13.

It’s a tough stretch that should give St. Al (15-2) a good test before it begins its quest for a Class 1A championship.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“It’s good. That’s what we want. I want to play the toughest teams and play great baseball. That’s why you play and why you coach,” St. Al coach Clint Wilkerson said.

It’s the two games with Stringer that the Flashes really have an eye on.

Both teams are among the best in Class 1A, and have developed a strong rivalry as they’ve crossed paths over the past few seasons.

Stringer knocked St. Al out of the playoffs with a two-game sweep in the second round in 2007. Last year, they split their two regular-season meetings and were both eliminated in the third round of the playoffs.

Hard-throwing right-hander Andrew Pierce, a Jones County Community College signee, returns for Stringer and figures to key another deep run in the postseason.

“I think our district is the toughest in the state in 1A,” Wilkerson said. “Most teams that are going to be (number) one seeds don’t get tested. We are battle-tested.”

St. Al ace Ryno Martin-Nez had 12 strikeouts in a 1-0 win at Stringer last February, while Pierce mowed down 18 in their rematch at Bazinsky Field five weeks later. They’ll likely square off again Tuesday at Stringer in their first meeting this season, and the rubber match of their personal duel.

On Friday night, when the teams play at Bazinsky Field, St. Al’s booster club is hosting a fish fry fundraiser in conjunction with the game. That should draw a larger than normal crowd and give the game an even more intense, playoff-like atmosphere.

“That’s going to be fun,” Wilkerson said.


Contact Ernest Bowker at ebowker@vicksburgpost.com.