Governor’s Cup|Venom earn third consecutive Cup title

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 16, 2009

It’s been a long, frustrating summer for the Vicksburg Venom.

The team that won five tournaments last year has battled through rainouts, close-but-no-cigar finishes, and no first-place trophies this season.

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Luckily, the Governor’s Cup is always waiting at the end to provide some comfort.

The Venom scored in all but one inning in two games Saturday, beating fellow Vicksburg squad the Mississippi Mudslingers 11-7 and the Forest Hill All-Stars 12-3 en route to the 11-year-olds’ Governor’s Cup championship. It was the third straight year the Venom has won their age group at the Governor’s Cup.

“We saved the best for last,” Venom coach Todd Boolos said. “Compared to other years it was tougher because of the rainouts. We played about 10 tournaments this year, maybe five less than last year.”

One of those rainouts had a direct impact on Saturday’s victory.

The Cup’s 11-year-olds’ bracket was reduced from nine teams to three after heavy rains forced tournament organizers to call off the final day of competition two weeks ago. Teams were given the option to return this weekend and play the remaining games, but only the Venom, Mudslingers and Forest Hill did. Instead of a seeded elimination round, the bracket was changed to a round robin. After Forest Hill beat the Mudslingers 12-2 in Saturday’s first game, the Venom handed the Mudslingers a second loss to set up a championship game between the two undefeated teams.

Boolos said the changes to the format didn’t take the shine off this latest Cup triumph. The Venom, he noted, won their first two Cup games before the rainout two weeks ago and could have been in the same spot even with a full bracket.

“We played good with the first two games. We were 2-0,” Boolos said. “We always seem to play well at the end.”

And at the beginning.

The Venom scored seven runs in the bottom of the first inning against the Mudslingers, then four more in the third after the Mudslingers had tied the game.

They again jumped on top in the bottom of the first against Forest Hill, batting around and scoring five runs. With the help of seven Forest Hill errors, the Venom added three more runs in the second inning and four in the third to win by the mercy rule.

Will Pierce went 4-for-4 in the tournament for the Venom, with a double and five RBIs. Griffith homered against the Mudslingers, had a two-run single against Forest Hill, and pitched a four-inning complete game in the championship game.

Mason Todd was 2-for-2 with two runs scored for the Mudslingers in their loss to the Venom.

After Griffith struck out Jacobi Holt for the final out, the Venom charged toward the mound for a dogpile one year in the making.

“I was just like, ‘should I let them tackle me or not?’” Griffith said.

While the Venom celebrated, Saturday’s make-up day at the Governor’s Cup was a tough one for Vicksburg’s other teams.

Six other teams from the city in the 8-, 9- and 14-year-olds’ age groups went a combined 1-7. Only the 9-year-olds’ Vicksburg Mischief won a game, beating the Delta Bulldogs 15-3 in a first-round elimination game. The Mischief were later defeated 7-6 in the quarterfinals by the Madison County Stangs. The Stangs lost to the West Monroe Tigers in the championship game.

The Vicksburg Braves won their age group last year, but were upset by the Indianola Trouble in the first round of the 8-year-olds’ elimination round, 17-12. Indianola went on to win two more games and the championship, beating the Monroe Warhawks 21-13 in the finals.

In the 14-year-olds’ divison, the Vicksburg Billies were defeated by the Florence Diamond Freaks 9-0 in the first game of the day. The Billies also lost 6-5 to Renegade Baseball in an elimination game.


Contact Ernest Bowker at