Vikings rally past Pirates|Prep baseball

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Early-season baseball games are often a proving ground. Seeing how players and teams react in certain situations can pay big dividends when the games mean more in April and May.

Dylan Wooten proved himself on Tuesday night. So did Warren Central.

WC came from behind twice to take the lead, the last on a two-run home run by Wooten in the bottom of the sixth inning, to earn a hard-fought 11-8 victory over Pearl.

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 mental toughness. Credit goes to the coaches to have us mentally fit. It’s the way we practice and the way we play,” Wooten said. “We knew we were going to come back. We were in the same situation (Saturday) at Terry and came back.”

Wooten went 3-for-4 with the homer, two doubles, three RBIs and three runs scored. Dee Kelley was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs, and Carlos Gonzales went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI for Warren Central (2-1). The Vikings won despite surrendering six walks and committing two errors.

Matt Walker was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI for Pearl (0-3), and Toler Robinson drove in two runs with a double.

“Great perserverence,” WC coach Josh Abraham said. “To be able to pull out a win when you don’t play your best defensively, the way we swung it, it’s a great day for Warren Central.”

RBI doubles by Wooten and Kelley helped stake WC to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Pearl answered with a run in the second inning and four more in the third to take a 5-3 lead, but the Vikings came back with three runs in the bottom of the third to regain the lead.

WC couldn’t hold the lead, though. Two walks and an error set up an RBI double by Pearl’s Tanner Phillips that tied it at 7 in the fifth inning. Pearl put runners at second and third in the sixth, then turned near disaster into gold.

With one out, Walker hit a grounder to short. WC’s Beau Wallace fielded it and ran down Kirby Wixson for the second out of the inning. Wallace then threw home in an attempt to throw out Phillip Harvey, who had broken from third. The throw beat Harvey to the plate, but it skipped past the catcher. Harvey slid in safely to give Pearl an 8-7 lead.

Once again, however, the Vikings responded.

With a runner on and one out, Wooten lifted a high fly ball that carried over the left field fence for a go-ahead homer.

“I was just seeing the ball really well,” Wooten said. “I guess it was a fastball. I just thought it was a pop up.”

Gonzales followed with a double and scored on Kelley’s RBI single, and Kelley later scored on a passed ball — the third of the inning — to give WC an 11-8 lead.

Reliever Jay Harper struck out the side in the seventh to preserve the win. Harper allowed the go-ahead run in the sixth, but struck out the last four batters he faced and earned his first win of the season.

Contact Ernest Bowker at