Locals hit road for tourneys|Prep baseball

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 15, 2010

When the playoffs roll around, the St. Aloysius Flashes should be competing for their second consecutive Class 1A championship.

If they play 11 playoff games, the same number it took to win last year’s title, it will be more games against other 1A schools than they’d played in the regular season.

Only seven of the Flashes’ 22 regular-season games are against 1A foes. The rest of the schedule is littered with games against schools ranging in size from Class 2A through 5A, including three this week at the Rush Spring Break Classic in Lake and Meridian.

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St. Al will open the tournament tonight against Class 4A Kosciusko, then play Class 3A Louisville on Tuesday and 4A Southeast Lauderdale on Wednesday. As a bonus, St. Al added a last-minute game against Class 4A power West Lauderdale this past weekend.

“We’ve got murderer’s row out there,” St. Al coach Clint Wilkerson joked. “It’s going to make us better, but at the same time we’re playing to win. Any game we schedule, I feel like we can win.”

This week’s tournament isn’t the last time the Flashes will take on the big boys. In April they’ll travel to face two-time defending 3A champion Sumrall — which is ranked No. 2 in the country by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper — and Class 5A Ridgeland.

“I want to prove a point,” Wilkerson said. “Just because we’re a small school, why can’t we be one of the best teams in the state?”

St. Al isn’t the only team keeping busy while class isn’t in session.

Porters Chapel will play two division games against Mt. Salus. Vicksburg and Warren Central will play in the Big Blue Tournament at Madison Central, as well as a one-day tournament Saturday at Bazinsky Field.

At the Big Blue Tournament, Vicksburg will play Terry today followed by a doubleheader with Desoto Central and Madison Central on Tuesday.

Warren Central will play Father Ryan — a team from Nashville, Tenn. — today, Desoto Central on Tuesday, then Oak Grove and Brandon on Wednesday.

Pearl, Lawrence County, WC and Vicksburg will make up the round-robin field for the Vicksburg spring break tournament this weekend.

Contact Ernest Bowker at ebowker@vicksburgpost.com