Lady Vikes aim for playoffs

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 23, 2010

If Dana McGivney’s Lady Vikes team had a gathering of its juniors and seniors, she could hold the meeting in a phone booth.

This year and next year’s team represent a full-fledged youth movement, as Warren Central tries to repeat as division champions after besting Clinton for the right to host a regional on a coin flip.

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The biggest losses McGivney will have to replace are catcher Mandy Fuller and pitcher Andi Hearn. Both not only were the team’s battery, but they were 1-2 in nearly every offensive category.

The good news is that the division is now just three teams with Vicksburg and Greenville-Weston.  Since the top two teams make the playoffs, Warren Central has an excellent shot to win another division title and get another home regional, especially since the non-division schedule is a murder’s row of playoff and state championship contenders like Northwest Rankin and Clinton.

The bad news is that the Lady Vikes are inexperienced in several crucial positions. But the talent returning is top-shelf.

So McGivney is keeping her expectations for her club simple.

“I just want them to get better every game,” McGivney said. “We’re going to play some tough teams, but we’re hoping that when the playoffs come around, we’ll be ready to make a run.”

Chelsea Worley will take over in the circle for the Lady Vikes, where she was solid in relief of Hearn last season.

While she doesn’t have the power repertoire that Hearn had, Worley’s off-speed arsenal allows her to deal her infield a steady diet of easy slow rollers. Blair Thornton will catch Worley.

Top offensive performer, sophomore infielder Chasity “Sissy” Hearn, was the team’s best hitter as a freshman, when she hit .288 with a double, a triple and a homer with 17 RBIs. She only struck out five times all season and her ability to make great contact while generating big power numbers makes her a tough out.

Sydnei Smith returns as the team’s best outfielder and her solid bat gives the new-look Vikings a very solid 1-2 punch.

She hit .327 with three doubles, two triples and two home runs. She drove in eight runs last season.

Outfield is where the Lady Vikes are strongest. Smith will hold court in center, where she started every game last year, showing off a solid arm and airtight glove.

Katie Busby will shift between the two corner outfield spots depending on that day’s matchup.

The Lady Vikes will get a big boost when Mallory Reynolds returns from her knee injury sustained in soccer.

Reynolds can pitch and play nearly every position save catcher.

“When Mallory comes back, that’ll be a big help to us because she’s a utility player and we can put her wherever we need her,” McGivney said.

Contact Steve Wilson at